At the start of this journey, I set out to journal faithfully. My intention was to put down sufficient detail that a reading of these words a decade from now would trigger memories that had slipped away and would enable me to relive these wonderful days.
So that’s right: This whole thing has been about me.
If anyone else out there has found any bit of pleasure or learning in these entries, then all I can say is “have at ‘em!”
That said, I’m thrilled to have made it to the end of this three-week marathon. On top of our very full days, my journaling efforts typically added an hour or more to the end of every day. Many entries were made when I’d have preferred to be doing pretty much nothing at all. However, I trust that those hours will be well-spent in helping to maximize this trip for many days to come.
All that blabbing sets the stage to say: I’m tired of writing about our days. So this final entry will be less-than-usual.
I found an online list of the top twelve sights in Istanbul. These are the must-sees for any visitor. In the past couple days, we’ve spent chunks of time (some brief, some significant) at numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 10, and 11. Eight-for-twelve: Not bad for two days in a city of over 12 million that has served as the meeting place of East and West, the junction of two continents, for its entire history.
If you care to see any of those sights, I suggest you head to the website and click away—my descriptive powers are simply done! But a few simple highlights have come along in the past couple days…
- A bit of quiet time in a Starbucks.
- Some very fun haggling in the Grand Bazaar.
- A fish feast on a quaint street filled with Turkish music and dancing.
- Some leisurely meandering on a major shopping street near our hotel.
- A Schweppe’s Bitter Lemon here and there.
- A wonderful cruise along the Bosphorus.
- Beholding religious relics ranging from Moses’ rod to David’s sword to Joseph’s turban to Abraham’s saucepan (that’s what the sign said!) to John the Baptist’s arm. All these and more can be viewed in Topkapi Palace, the Ottoman equivalent of Buckingham Palace. (For what it’s worth, Charles suggests that John the Baptist must have been a mutant octopus or something because he’s got hands and fingers and skulls all over the Eastern hemisphere!)
- Some sweet “closing conversations” with a group of people who’ve become very special very quickly.
- Having the right amount of money exchanged to Turkish Lira within about $5.00.
- Successfully packing everything back into one bag.
- The anticipation of meeting “my two girls” in just a bit over 24 hours. The phrase “home sweet home” has been rolling through my mind for days now.
Thanks for sharing the journey from wherever you’ve been. It was my pleasure to share it with you. From Istanbul with love…