Yesterday was a down day since it was really cold and rainy and today was supposed to be a better weather day. It worked out exactly that way. It rained numerous times yesterday and was cold and windy. We had dinner plans with Tijen and her family, but Ayse Maya was sick so it was just Tijen and her boyfriend. We ate at a Thai restaurant that they really love and had a lovely dinner. It was only about a 10 minute walk from the apartment, but it was so cold, especially coming home, that we couldn’t wait to get back to the apartment. We picked up some chocolate covered almonds that we all enjoy and made it back before frost bite set in.
It turns out that this is the coldest April on record in Istanbul. We had the right plan but mother nature just didn’t cooperate here in Turkey. Hopefully she will be kind to us for the rest of the trip, giving us warm weather so we don’t need to buy any warmer clothing. We have held off until this point and hopefully we can hold the course. I woke up really early this morning to attend a local Rotary meeting that started at 7 AM. I left the apartment around 6:45 and got to the hotel around 7:10 and met a number of local Rotarians. It turns out that a few of them were actually at the conference last weekend and saw my talk. They were so excited to have me there, it was an honor to spend a couple of hours with them.
I left the meeting and headed back to the apartment expecting everyone to be up and ready to go sightseeing on our last day in Istanbul, but to my surprise everyone was still sleeping when I arrived at 9:30 AM! What was going on? I woke everyone up and it seemed like Noah didn’t really sleep at all. He said he was too tired to wake up and go, but Ilise bribed him with Pizza and ice cream, so out of bed he jumped. We headed out around 10:15 off to see the Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace. We had heard so much about both that we had to make it there. We ordered tickets online (which was such a hassle because everything online was in Turkish) so we didn’t have to wait on the long lines at either place. We enjoyed both even though it was still a bit cold. We took a break between the two tourist spots to grab a quick lunch, which was just OK, and headed back to the apartment around 4 PM. Drew still has plenty of homework to do and we have packing left for our trip to Italy.
All in all, Istanbul was a pleasure to visit. We met amazing people, the kids got to visit another school and meet more local kids, we had some very funny moments as a family and we experienced our first city without Karley, our teacher who went home two weeks ago. The trip is definitely different without her, but if you know me at all, it all happens for a reason. This time together as a family for 3 months without anyone else is priceless. Looking forward to Naples and the next 2 weeks in Italy!
To a life well lived…..