Saturday, July 23, 2022

15 Hours in Istanbul

We flew Turkish Airlines to Rome and TA has a generous tour option for those who have a long layover in Istanbul. The day we flew back to Chicago we had a 15 hour layover--3 pm to 6 a--and chose the free tour option (you can also choose free accomodations--but not both.) It happened to be a cruise on the Bosphorus Strait! 

Highlights included... A trip to the market prior to the cruise, where we sampled chocolates, baklava, and tea. Dan smelled spices and picked 'Ottoman' spice and Sumac to take home. (They were generous portions so he will be sharing them with anyone and everyone who is interested.) I got some fresh baklava pieces boxed up and Raine picked his favorite chocolates. Everything was vaccuum sealed for our flight. 
...The cruise absolutely blew us away. It started in the late afternoon so we were able to watch the sunset and enjoying the night lights. We were able to float along the European side and then the Asian side so Raine was pretty excited to have been "on 2 continents." :) There was ice cream for Raine on the boat and dinner was provided. We shared a beautiful moment as we listened to the call of prayer echoing among the walls of the city and over the water. After sunset, we enjoyed a gorgeous full moon. All evening Dan and I kept kissing and saying we loved each other. It was such a special moment that we had never even dreamt of, especially when he was diagnosed with stage IV cancer 8 years ago. We will always be so unbelievably grateful for this experience, and all the time we have been given.

...Our last night - about 10pm in Istanbul. We had celebratory shots and beers and talked about everything we did and what we would remember. My words and our pictures don't do it justice! However I do hope that it will all help Raine remember as he grows up...Watching him experience everything brought us so much joy!

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