A cultural awakening.
25.04.2013 - 25.04.2013 22 °C
Here we go - our first entry in our 2013 travel blog!
We flew out of Perth last night at 11pm after saying an emotional goodbye to our beautiful family - with a unified shaking of the heads from our treasured offspring Carly and Ben - regarding a certain upcoming balloon ride in Turkey!
After 11 hours in the air - at dawn this morning we flew into Doha in Qatar - what a sight. All the buildings we flew over were the colour of the desert sand. I've not seen anything quite like it. A couple of hours stopover at Qatar Airport - absolutely huge - and we were off again for the 5 hour flight to Istanbul.
On previous trips we've flown from Perth in to Rome, Perth in to Cairo - and we've done this to experience the cultural difference - to wake us up and to make us realise the difference between our home and the places that we are visiting. Today has been another awakening - Istanbul is yet again so diverse - an unforgettable experience on arrival.
Arriving at Istanbul Airport we were expecting a driver in "Arrivals" displaying a sign with our name. No "Gibson" sign was evident - oh dear! After a young Turkish guy noticed my perplexed look he asked which tour we were on. After I let him know he announced that the driver of that group was his friend and that he would contact him for us. Our driver was late but did arrive eventually. It was a great feeling to get in to a mini bus and be taken to our hotel. Exactly 24 hours after leaving home we opened the door to our hotel room.
Although we were tired we decided to take a walk down to see the Bosphorus River. This walk ended up being about 2 1/2 hours long and about 6 kilometres in length. What an amazing place Istanbul is - and we've hardly seen anything yet! The river is huge - with so many boats, ships, ferries and cargo ships sailing in all directions. Cafes are dotted all along the riverfront - a haunt for the locals. The gardens are beautiful, so colourful - so different to Perth. Tulips are the national flower of Turkey - they are only in flower for 1 month of the year - and this is it! We are very fortunate.
We walked a huge circle and ended up right in the middle of Istanbul's shopping area. Finally, we made it back to our hotel after 7pm - still broad daylight. We ordered dinner in - and our first day of 56 came to an end.