Wednesday, December 18, 2013

One night in ... Istanbul

Funny thing happened on the way to Kigali ... Our plane from Los Angeles was tardy and we missed our connecting flight in Istanbul. 

Cue two girls who have seen the movie Taken 2. One of us was a little more dramatic about the fact we were in the city where the intense mother-daughter kidnapping plot unfolded and the other one of us is the parent who likes adventure. So we had that going for us. 

Now picture this pair trying to learn the Turkish language real fast, find our way to a gate, a passport line, a visa line, and then figure out how to get to the hotel voucher thingie place, if we even wanted to leave the airport and go out there. We might have stuck it out at the airport but the Starbucks had no vibe and the only duty free shopping I saw was liquor and Legos. Sorry Grant, no sitars. 

Plus, completely unnerving was the lack of wifi or phone service ANYWHERE in the part of the airport we were stuck In. We were anxious about letting the Shrecks know we were NOT on the plane! And I couldn't figure it out. In 2013!

By the way, nothing against the lovely Turkish people, but there is nothing recognizable in their language to me. So much for all of our Latin study! Turkish is not a romance language. 

We eventually navigated our way to the Turkish Air hotel transport and found out our hotel stay would be complimentary with a pinky swear promise they would bring us back in time for our flight 24 hours hence. So we bussed out into Friday night in the big town of Isranbul.   Our hotel was in the Sultanhamet section, old town, complete with narrow brick streets, tiny sidewalks, lots of pedestrians and a fast-driving bus driver. We were very near several historic sites including the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sofia. But after a nice comp dinner and staying up til 3am, we slept in and I read up on my Istanbul history and tourist industry from our hotel room. We were still Taken-leery and now I was concerned about getting run over by a bus. Oh, I  was awoken by the call to prayer at 5am. So I had some Jesus time. Did it again at Noon. The afternoon drive back to the airport, after lunch and a Turkish coffee, was enchanting along the coast of the Marmara Sea. 

Dreams cone true after being stalled in Instanbul

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