June 15, 2011

A Mini-Break

When I lived in France, from 1999 until 2007, I had the good fortune to do a lot of traveling.

In the beginning, I didn't expect to be there very long, and so tried to take advantage of the proximity to so many cool places. I took long weekends whenever I could, and tried to visit many places. Those of you who know me well will not be surprised that after a time, I returned to my favorite places in lieu of new discoveries; I've always preferred the known to the unknown. Adventure is not my middle name.

But I did have a bit of regret when I left, that there were two places I never got to visit: Istanbul and Dubrovnik. Silly, really. Just never got around to it. I missed more than a few other places, but haven't really regretted that.

So when Paul suggested a quick (5-day) trip to Istanbul, I didn't hesitate. I'd heard only good things about it, and upon arrival made up my mind about it instantly: I loved it.

In fact, I would put it among my favorite European cities. How can anyone dislike a place that is filled with rooftop terraces, nice wine (a pleasant surprise) and marvelous sea views? The place was made for me. Couple that with the slightly exotic Asian influence and I'm there.

And did I mention the tile? Having made pilgrimages to ceramic centers across the Mediterranean and into North Africa, again, this place was made for me.

Paul's blog, oberjuerge.com, has many more details of the trip. I, on the other hand, suffer from an inability to blog after the fact. Someday, I'm sure, I'll be able to think of what I want to say and it will instantly be transmitted to this site. Hey, it could happen.

Taking a break from the heat and desolation (in my opinion) of the UAE was marvelous. It was my first time out of the country since October and we picked this time specifically to combat the oppressive heat of the season here. Neither of us has had more than two days off since the fall, either.

The weather was perfect, the sights were stunning and I felt right at home. Can't ask for much more.

Photos on facebook, for those who are interested.


G. Rarick said...

Glad you loved Istanbul - it's one of my favorites, too. Great place - did you get to a hammam? (Although considering where you live, steam heat is probably not high on your list of things to do...)

Angela Shah said...

so glad you enjoyed it! i've read paul's updates and sadly have had similar "adventures" there. (tho no one threatened to chop off my head so there's that.)

i was traveling alone and the harassment was much worse. it just made me stay away from the areas near the mosque and the bazaar, which was fine. i ended up exploring some local neighborhoods and finding place i probably wouldn't have found otherwise.