Tim and I tend to fly by the seat of our pants when we travel. We are both OK with winging it when we need to and have been known to sleep in train stations when our loose plans have not collided with the reality of transport timetables.
Note to self: never do this with kids (again).
After a marathon flight through China (line up to get your passport stamped even in transit, then line up to officially exit the country and get your passport stamped, even if those two things take place within 10 minutes of each other) and another 12 hour flight to Istanbul, we arrived. I was in awe of our kids. Not one complaint.
Mind you, they experienced a pretty beautiful world in Australia. I think their blessed tanks were still very, very full.
Tim and I complained. Oh yes we did. Though our own tanks were very very full also. Shame on us. However, “Flying by the seat of your pants” can also be translated as “not actually reading the fine print to know exactly how long each flight will be”. Call us Philistines, but we both somehow deducted with our mass intelligence that it would take, oh, around 4 hours or so to get from China to Istanbul.
So when we arrived in Istanbul at 4.30am 30 hours after we started out, and our hotel told us our rooms would not be ready until 1pm, I pulled out all my feminine charms and reasoning, and took care of business.
So OK: I cried.
And cried. Our kids watched me with embarassed, open mouths, and I cried. And after much awkward glancing and many phone calls to distant bosses, our poor, over-powered young concierges magically found us a room.
At which point we slept soundly for 4 hours and then got up to take on Istanbul. Our dear friend had given us strict instructions on how to see the city she loves, so we did it: Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, the Roman Cisterns, Spice Markets, Grand Bazaar and lots and lots of Turkish coffee. Tim found us a guide to talk us through the history of these places, and he was incredibly knowledgable about both Muslim and Christian history. It was so fascinating.
In Turkey I feel like I found the country that best outwardly expresses the aesthetic joys of my soul: wild colour, everywhere, in everything, all mixed together in hand-made beautiful items, lush food, strong coffee and friendly people plopped on top of a backdrop of the most ancient of histories.
You can’t do a place like that in 24 hours and hope to understand it, but it was such a visible and physical feast that I hope one day I get the chance to return.
Molly would like to add that she loved all the cats in Turkey. In this she certainly does not take after her father.
So now we are in Geneva and tomorrow to fun begins. It was not so fun today standing in Geneva train station with all our gear on trying to find some local hill we could ski at for a few hours. Farcical would be a word. Again, a direct consequence of “flying by the seat of one’s pants”. So we think we will take India for a walk to see her future employment office at the International Red Cross. Our own little peace-maker.
Thanks for all your love and prayers: I actually get so nervous flying, but we have nothing but rave reviews for China Air and Turkish Air. Seriously, Turkish Air? Perhaps the classiest airline we have ever flown. The Lord is with us, and in the lovliest of ways, has shown us his hand and presence. And that is always my prayer: Lord, please don’t ever send us where you don’t go ahead of us.
Today Switzerland, tomorrow France, and the World Transplant Games! We send our love and apologies for not responding to you each personally.