Istanbul, Turkey...our story and photos...

Istanbul Turkey is the only capitol city in the world that is located on two separate continents, Europe and Asia.  Tom filled me in on this morsel, history buff that he is.
Mosques and churches are abundant in Istanbul.

What a view of Istanbul!

The contrast of old and new is breathtaking in Istanbul.

It was not any easy decision, deciding not to visit Istanbul, Turkey today. Tomorrow, while our ship will have docked in Izmir, Turkey we are going on an excursion to Ephesus, not returning until late in the day, posting story and photos on Thursday. 

As our ships overlooks this magnificent city, it is quite tempting, to simply walk off the ship and venture out on our own.  From information provided to us by the excursion desk, its about a 30 minutes vigorous walk through the city to arrive at the mosques, the Grand Bazaar, the Underground Cistern and many other renowned historical sites of interest.
We were able to zoom in on many historic sites from the deck of the ship.

Google Maps
Taksim Square,  wherein lies the political unrest in Istanbul, Turkey, is across the bridge from the Blue Mosque.  The far left point of the blue line is the Port of Istanbul.  The end
point of the blue line toward the right is the Blue Mosque and an area of
most of the tourist attractions, a little too close for comfort by our commitment to safety.
Staying behind is not based on fear as much as on practicality and logical thinking.  Most likely, if we did go out, we'd be safe.  The odds are in our favor.
Honestly, its more my being cautious than Tom. 

Looming in my mind are all the bus bombings and terrorist attacks that have occurred whereby tourists have been killed, injured and captured.  In many ways, Turkey is safer than many other countries.  But, in our own US, who would have thought the Boston Marathon would be a high risk area, on that particular horrifying day?

When we planned this year's long adventure, we made a commitment to each other: we will protect ourselves from the "things we do know" since we have no control over "the things we don't know."

Today, Istanbul falls into the category of "things we do know."  Thus, we stay behind, perhaps viewed as overly cautious and "chicken" by some and sensible by others.  Whichever the case, we've made peace with our decision.

Here again, old and new intertwined in Istanbul, Turkey.
We remind ourselves that only four weeks ago, we traveled the Middle East, visiting many high risk areas, reveling in the adventure of it all, grateful for the experience.  We're not pushing our luck to see yet more mosques, shopping areas and historical buildings, however magnificent they may be.

We find this French style of architecture not only in parts of the US
but in other cities throughout the world.

 We remind ourselves of our personal travel objectives:  to focus our time, money and energy on experiencing amazing wildlife, vegetation, natural wonders and most of all, living in and learning the culture of people all over the world.  This makes us happy.  Historical buildings?  Nice to see but not as life changing for us as it may be for others.

This simple church spire adds to the Istanbul skyline.

The Panama Canal, Petra, and Mykonos, tell us a story that fills our hearts and minds with awe and joy.  Wearing the burka and throbe in Abu Dhabi visiting the Sheikh Zayed Mosque gave us a gift of cultural differences that will remain with us forever. 

Mingling with the Mayan people, eating their foods from their shops and markets in Belize was so meaningful to us.  Tom getting a haircut from a Creole barber while sitting under a tree on a plastic chair atop cement blocks was a delightful experience for us both. 

Also, on our trip to the Monkey River in Belize, seeing the howler monkeys, the manatees, crocs,  dolphins, the unusual birds and vegetation, the likes of which we'd never seen before, left us reeling with pure pleasure.  And, the lunch a Alice's Restaurant will be etched in our minds forever, as Alice and her family ran circles around us to serve us their perfect version of a local lunch.

Who's to say what "trips one's trigger?"  Luckily, both of us have similar expectations.  Five days from today, we'll plant our feet in Italy for the summer, living for two and half months in a non English speaking area, learning their ways of daily life, eating their locally grown foods, attending their summer festivities, enjoying their rolling hillside all the while and making friends along the way.

The Port of Istanbul where we sit today, a 20 minute walk from the unrest in Taksim Square.

Yes, we are doing what we want, when we want, what feels safe to us while enriching our lives daily to the world around us.  Its not perfect.  It never will be.  But for us, this... my friends, is as good as it gets.


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