Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Backtracking: more Turkey & NYC

The circle of the trip then brought us back to Istanbul for a few more days, though the lame travel agency nearly shafted us by not booking the plane tickets it was supposed to have set up sometime earlier than 45 minutes before takeoff. Istanbul had loads to see, and we had a great time in the archaeological museum there seeing many relics from places we’d visited and other places (the Alexander Sarcophagus was indeed amazing). Hagia Sofia, which is one of those amazing buildings from antiquity still in use in the 21st century, consumed much space on memory cards with way too many photos being taken.

The Topkapi Palace, where the sultans hung out consumed nearly an entire day of the trip. The roofs on the towers shown below and the conical tops of the fireplaces inside the palace totally reminded me of gnomes and other fanciful creatures. There were also plenty of riches to be seen there, including the famous Topkapi Dagger, with its rather large emeralds on the handle.

After a long flight from Istanbul, we arrived just prior to a nor-easter storm dumping a bunch of snow on New York City. The icy wind was really blasting the next morning when the view was taken in (here, of the Flatiron Building) from the lower observation deck of the Empire State Building.

In true “Ghostbusters” fan fashion, the pilgrimage was also made to the New York Public Library, with its fabulous main reading rooms.

A considerable amount of time was spent acquiring tickets for and attending a taping of the Late Show with David Letterman, which was a fun change of pace. Seeing place that the Beatles played way back when was pretty interesting, too. It's amazing how brief the time line of events in this country is compared to other places in the world.

So, other than a marathon stint in the Greyhound bus system for just over 30 hours, I made it home in one piece, though pretty tired. This trip garnered me my 41st country and my 7th continent on my life’s travel list, and seemed to be just jam packed with cultural and historical treasures, not to mention a wide variety of landscapes.

What comes next? That's a good question, which I'm working on now, but who knows what will actually come to pass? Life keeps itself interesting in that way, for sure.

“Next to seeing land, there is no sight which makes one realize he is drawing near home, than to see the same heavens, under which he was born, shining at night over his head.”
~Richard Henry Dana, Two Years Before the Mast