Istanbul: The Evacucation

14 Feb

We made it out of Cairo. That’s not a positive statement, really. No one wanted to leave. I would have stayed if I could….and I have plans to go back, both in May and later, for a longer time. However, we were out, and we were in Istanbul, capital of Turkey, a city that straddles two continents.

Pretty exciting, even if we arrived under less than auspicious circumstances. Our little group, once off the plane, immediately found the nearest internet hotspot and hacked into the account so we could all, after nearly a week, check our emails and let everyone know we were safe and well. We also looked up a hostel to stay at, since we knew we’d at least need two nights in Istanbul. So six of us hustled off a hostel in a cab, none of us knowing a single word of the language, anything about Istanbul, about Turkey, about where we were going.

Our lives, as have happened and continue to happen so often in these past few weeks (strange to think not even a month has passed since I left the States), were thrown to the winds of fate.

We get to our hostel around 11:30pm, which is only a five minute walk from the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque, the two most famous sites in Istanbul. That night, Macarena and I book our tickets for Morocco…leaving Thursday. We have one day in Istanbul, then, to not be worried about what is happening, where we are, if we can be out…one day to be simple tourists. And we take that opportunity.

Danny, Macarena, Andrea and I go and explore Istanbul on Wednesday (pictures here: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2092513&id=1066620072&l=0bd477012c)

We see the Hagia Sophia, which was absolutely, drop-to-your-knees beautiful. Stunning. Mind-boggling. Amazing. We walk around, get lunch (Turkish food is delicious), and go to the Blue Mosque. Also absolutely stunning. Beautiful creations of man to show the capabilities that we all possess, and in the process, raise our human spirits.

That night, Macarena and I’s last night in Istanbul (everyone else was staying until Friday, when they could get flights out), we all go to a nice dinner, order drinks, and have a delicious toast/send off meal, knowing the likelihood of us all being together again is slim to none. Such is the way of a transient life, which we are certainly living.

Also bought a kick-butt carpet bag which makes me feel like Mary Poppins and is a great carry-on.
The next day, Macarena and I head back to the airport we were just at on Tuesday, I get my Kindle back (I may have lost it at the airport Tuesday night….but got it back so it’s all good), Macarena’s flight stuff gets screwed up and we have to purchase a new ticket for her, but we get on the plane, and say good bye to Turkey.

I still don’t know a single word of Turkish.

But I plan to go back, because Turkey has so much more to offer than what one day of calm could give.

Up next: From Casa to Rabat, from AMIDEAST to our homestays.

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