|Thought our connection in Dallas to London would be tight at 1 hour. The emergency landing in New York JFK made that a minor concern. No real problems except three hours in the plane at the gate, two hours at the airline desk (from 1am till 5am), and then overnight, actually morning, in hotel.
Flights to London & Istanbul were anti-climactic, and our transport to Istanbul hotel was waiting for us, as was our luggage!! What a relief to sleep a full night horizontal in a bed.
Have spent the last couple days wandering Istanbul, revisiting some sights from 9 years ago. The city has changed in that time. People not as pushy with selling, and more women on the streets & working in the shops.
Next is to journey to Bulgaria. We met a young lady and her mom at breakfast this morning. She was on business here and returns home to Bulgaria tomorrow. Offered to drive us and help with future arrangements in Bulgaria !!! There are amazingly good helpful generous people in this world.
Lidia's entry: When we were here on our honeymoon, nine years ago, we discovered the Sultan's Kitchen Restaurant where the menu is based on the dishes prepared for the sultans centuries ago. The Restaurant is part of the Suleymaniye Complex built in the XVI Century by my favorite Ottoman architect, Mimar Sinan. Allen thought lunch was exorbitant in price, but when you consider the context and historical site; it was a bargain.
My favorite moment: The latest sales marketing strategy in the Sultanahmet (the oldest and most touristic part of town) where we stayed is to employ very young and attractive men to invite tourists to enter the restaurants or rug shops. These multilingual young men are very dignified and charming. I notice one of them, leave his post and run to sit inside a taxi to join the driver in a sing along of a Turkish song. Both of the men (the driver a bit fat and older looking then his compadre) sang the traditional song with most sentiment and their eyes closed. When the song ended, the younf man regained his composure and returned to his job!
Our friend Valerie Phillips describes Istanbul perfectly: " no city
is more magical than Istanbul. Not Marrakech or Cairo -in all my travels - was I
taken by a city - I had a single weakness for Istanbul.
How well I recall the splendor of The Topkapi Palace with its gentle splash of
fountains in lush green courtyards - secluded from the noise and smells of a
The sound of the city at dusk - with the call to evening prayer singing out from
a myriad of minarets -combined with the rhythmic booming from the shipyards in
the Bosporus. The failing light on the Hagia Sophia. An intoxicating city..."