The Final Countdown

This yacht was quite the rare sight to be seen along the Chicago River, as I crossed the Clark Street Bridge on my way to dinner Sunday night.

This yacht was quite the rare sight to be seen along the Chicago River, as I crossed the Clark Street Bridge on my way to dinner Sunday night.

Since returning from London on Saturday morning, I almost feel like Chicago is just another stop on this whirlwind tour I’ve been on. With only five days between the end of Europe and the start of Guatemala, the clock is definitely ticking. Of course, here, I’m not hitting up museums and bakeries all day, nor am I getting in my ten miles a day of walking.

Continue reading

Lengthy London Layover

Regent Street on Friday afternoon.

Regent Street, London, on Friday afternoon.

Waking up at 5:30 for a 6:10 cab ride to the airport ended up being the easiest part of the day. The hotel arranged for a ride for me, although the guy ended up being shady. What should have cost me about 65 Turkish Lira ended up costing me at least 100. (That’s basically going from a $28 cab ride to $45). He said because he’d taken the Autobahn, it had been faster but “more meter”. The guy knew just enough English to explain why, but not enough to answer my complaints about it. But I’d had such a phenomenal trip, I wasn’t going to let this guy ruin it.

Continue reading

Double the Döner and Doughnut Too

In front of the Hagia Sophia, I decided to try the roasted corn. Didn't care about the chestnuts.

A very common street stand, I decided to try the roasted corn. The vendors transition out of corn and into chestnuts as summer ends.

Thursday morning, I woke up to my last full day in Europe. (Or so I thought.) It was hard to believe that the next morning I’d be heading to the airport, and not heading to a new city but returning to the U.S. I made it my mission to make the most of the day!

Continue reading

A New Year in Istanbul

The Blue Mosque on a gorgeous, sunny day.

The Blue Mosque on a gorgeous, sunny day.

I was eager to begin Wednesday, as I could now look over my email of recommendations and see what else I should do. In addition to additional sites, my friends had recommended a trip to a traditional Turkish bath. I wasn’t sure what this would entail, but kept it in the back of my mind. Having Internet was helpful but not foolproof. I checked the weather and saw it was only supposed to be in the low 60’s. So I put on jeans and a sweatshirt. Of course, I realized soon after that that was not the case. My guess – later confirmed – was that my weather app was on the Prague page and not Istanbul. Oh well.

Continue reading

Accidental Tourist

This old thing? Yeah, just a clay pot from the Bronze Age. Only about 4500 years old.

As I’ve mentioned before, most of the stops on this trip were fairly unstructured when it came to advance planning and Istanbul was no exception. However, I always had some sort of general idea of things to see and do. I’d received a detailed email from one of my San Francisco friends, who’d been there with a small group in July, and I was going to work off their outline.

Continue reading

Travel Day

The view of Old Town Square from the museum.

As Monday rolled around and it was time to pack up (again) and head to a new city (again), I was getting a little weary of the routine. For each city on the tour, I’d gotten to learn my way around, grow comfortable and then – boom – it’s time to leave. While I was excited for all that awaited in Istanbul, I wouldn’t have minding staying put. Perhaps three cities would have been better for this trip than four.

Continue reading