Brad and I arrived in Turkey today. Our flight and travel day was quite long but I think we will recover well. After traveling for 19 hours we settled into our guest room near the Blue Mosque.
Immediately we fell into a six hour “nap”. I described waking up as swimming through cream of wheat and Brad said “Yes that’s exactly what it’s like.” In any case we did wake up and make it out and I realized how much I love Istanbul. We really enjoyed visiting in 2012 and it remains a beautiful and remarkable city
When we visited in 2012 it was quite busy, even in late April/early May. I read that in 2011 31 million + visitors traveled there. In a huge city that already has 20 million + people living there you can imagine how busy it was for us. This time it was really slow. The vendors we spoke to brought this up over and over. Turkey economy has slowed and there are few tourists coming so they are hurting and very happy to see us. As for me I don’t worry too much about random violence, it seems to me as likely in my home town as in another country. But I guess many are frightened to visit.
At dinner at the Old House Restaurant Brad was saying that he regrets not planning to stay longer in Istanbul. I totally understand what he is talking about. I have regrets myself. For example in Vienna we would have visited the opera house but when we were there we were running around so much I just couldn’t imagine standing in line for standing room only tickets. My knees, feet and back just weren’t up to it. Also it was really cold out wouldn’t have enjoyed being out for an hour or more waiting in line. But still I have regret. If I go again I will go to the Opera House in Vienna.
When we planned to return to Istanbul we just recalled how much we liked it here, but then we committed to travel elsewhere in the region we dismissed a longer stay. Brad explained at dinner that he regretted that choice and I totally understand. It’s hard to remember when planning exactly why you loved a place so much. I knew I loved Istanbul but felt like we had seen it so we should spend our time more productively and visit places we haven’t been. So it’s going to be a short visit this time but I think we will try to get back here in this trip. It is with out a doubt one of my favorite cities in the world.
Part of the reason I decided to travel for one year is that I know in my heart that if I don’t travel I will have regrets. In the big picture I have already traveled a lot so I think I won’t have regrets at this point, but of course I won’t cut short this time. I have a lot to see and now is the time to see it!