If one had but a single glance to give the world, one should gaze on Istanbul.
–Alphonse de Lamartine
Really, we’ve been planning this trip for nearly three years.
Way back in late 2012 we started thinking—as we perpetually do—of where to go next. The previous two trips had been to Nicaragua, that year, and Belize the year before. Both came about sort of accidentally, when one of us saw a Groupon deal online, and pictures that captivated us. Both trips were package deals—something we don’t typically do—but were small, eco-lodges in regions not super-touristed yet, well run and extremely peaceful. No planning involved, total relaxation.
For the next trip, we both felt something more ambitious was in order, not least because the following year would be our 15th anniversary. We both thought we might want to go somewhere in Europe, or at least someplace that had a café culture vibe. We considered a few options: returning to Venice, which we had visited ten years before on our 5th anniversary; reprising the Morocco/Madrid trip from 2009 but with an added desert overnight excursion; and Istanbul, to which we had never been but was cropping up more and more in our thoughts as a great combination of east and west.
And then Rick visited from India, here for a conference that we also attended in Portsmouth, NH. And sortofkindof convinced us that India should be next. (In reality, it was several months before we made up our minds on India; staying with Rick and his family in Delhi was one of the loveliest parts of that whole trip. We owe them.)
And then, Guatemala happened, all because of this photo:
Guatemala was awesome, and we plan to go back someday. But this year, it’s all about Istanbul. For real this time: tickets are bought, accommodations are booked. This will be our first time using AirBnB, which we are very excited about.
So now, the itinerary planning is underway…we have 9 full days, besides the evening we arrive. Lots of time to fill, but then again, Istanbul has LOTS to see and do: Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Grand Bazaar, Chora Church, Rumeli Hisari fortress, to name just a few.
We’ll write more about how we go about planning our itinerary for this, or any, trip in a future post.
Have a suggestion for things to do and see that we may not already know about? Please tell us in the comments!