Day 16: Intoxicating Istanbul

Day 16: Saturday, 2 May 2020 – Istanbul, Turkey (41.0082° N, 28.9784° E) (124,000 Covid-19 cases & 3,336 deaths in Turkey to date)

If the road is easy, you’re likely going the wrong way.” ~ Terry Goodkind

Two weeks into our memory lane virtual trip around the world. Remind me never to do this again, please! Much rather do the real thing.

To recap, (so I know where we’ve been and can figure out where I’m going), our alums memories, brought us in the first week to revisit Japan, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Myanmar; and this last week we have revisited: Nepal, India, Abu Dhabi, Zimbabwe-Zambia, Ethiopia, Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan. That’s fourteen destinations so far! The last week of the rip is usually a blurr…let’s see if we can make that happen virtually. Any thoughts on what’s next? Bueller? Bueller? Bueller…

Usually around now on the annual adventure we pause a few hours for some R n’ R. We host a hospitality event or two on the road, that has been known to ply or travelers with mood tranquilizing (and attitude adjusting) drinks, and usually a shared meal of local cuisine. It allows them to let their hair down and relax a bit without any competition or concern of wasting time, share their war stories, swap spit, and just generally recuperate before their last mad dash of week. Most have been a load of frolic and fun for all, us included, thinking of: Bukhara in Delhi, couscous in Casablanca, a Kuala Lumpur seafood extravaganza, a sultry al fresco Ubud dinner, a rooftop Milan happening, Nile river dancing, a Bosphorus waterfront feast here in Istanbul, sate and then some in Yangon, drinks on the veranda in Kenya, teppanyaki in Johannesburg, a too-much-food feast in Rome, tapas in Madrid, Uruguayan pooh-poohs, pork knuckles and beer in Frankfurt, a late night Prague soirée sans absinthe, an odd and sordid spit-swapping event in Colombo, and then there was the infamous Athens hospitality party we held at Plaka Taverna in 2008. Thirty-three of my most drunken travel friends altogether in one place! What a fiasco. Our fault too; you live you learn. And boy did we learn. It was a really fun time had by all–ozou, lamb, obligatory broken plates, dancing and all–right up to the point when all the cats finally got back to the hotel and learned that for the next four days they were all traveling overground between Athens and Bucharest…then it got not so fun. But we can laugh now, right!?

Anyway, back to Turkey, which  is a great travel destination, and Istanbul remains one of my top five favorite big cities in the world. (Osaka, Paris, Vienna, Buenos Aires, New York) A couple of years ago, my family rented an apartment here in June, literally right across from Galata Tower, and we had just an amazing stay. (Funny, now I remember spending my R-rated 30th birthday dancing with German nurses and drinking raki high atop that same tower when its incarnation was a garrish 80’s style disco! Alas, it was the eighties.) Istanbul offers visitors so much to see and do…and eat. It is a very safe city, easy to get around with a multitude of private and public transportation options, and of course so historic. To me the water just enhances everything and puts it over the top. You can boat from the Sea of Marmara to the Black Sea, from Asia to Europe, and to the Dodecanese Islands in between.

Today’s memory comes from a 2005 alum Pat & Paul (aka the Bueschers), and takes place on an early morning here in Turkey:

“Hard to believe it has been 15 years. We left the hotel at 0400 to avoid traffic in Istanbul.  Fortunately, there were enough folks out and about, our cab driver was able to ask for directions.  We made it back to the hotel in time for breakfast and on to more scavenging by 0700.  I never operated for so many days on so little sleep.”

Buescher’s at Hannibal’s tomb.

Some other 2005 alums at hammam in Istanbul…

Pamela in 2002…always a good hair day in Istanbul!

Tomorrow we head to Europe.

Stay safe and well. Till tomorrow…

Please send any memories you want us to post to ringmaster (at) globalscavengerhunt (dot) com