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It nearly went to the wire and I had to forgo Greece, but after weeks (no months!) of stressing out the scheduling staff and waiting for the green light, I finally got it. I spent this past weekend, reviewing all my research and trying to imagine myself in all the different tours. Since Turkey is a Muslim country and far too far East for a die-hard Westerner like me, I always knew I would be taking a tour. For a long time, the front-runner was a Smithsonian Journeys offering. When I was making serious plans, though, their single rooms sold out and I was left with trying to negotiate a double room slot or going with someone else. Plus, the Smithsonian tour was shorter than some others and very expensive. I figured I could always read up on any knowledge and arrive so well-read that I could give the tours and decided to go with someone else, hopefully a company that has a chance of having younger tour members. I will be staying an extra two days in Istanbul.

I’ve been wanting to go to that city since I read a history of it and as I read the passage concerning the sacking of Constantinople by the Turks and came to the realization that that was fear, I’ve been wanting to go. Once Byzantium under the Greeks, then Constantinople under the Romans the capital of the Eastern Empire, and then finally, Istanbul. Hagia Sophia. The Bosphorus. The Golden Horn. Caesar tearing through its plains in hot pursuit of Pompey. Alexander slashing the Gordion Knot as he brought the East under his heel. The sultans in their palaces. Scimitars and horsemen. Bazaars and baklava. The Call to Prayer. Minarets. A stone’s throw away from the Cradle of Civilization that I can only hope will simmer down in my lifetime so I can see that, too. This is my first foray into the exotic, mysterious lands of the East.

I will be buying a handy guide to Turkish. I have two months to get up to speed, but in a way, I’ve been preparing for this trip my entire life.

One Response to “Istanbul”

  1. 1

    Oh wow! Istanbul! On my list too of places to go (too darned many)…… Go on ya good thing :)

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