Monday, January 5, 2015

Time for a Trip Around the World

Counters full of nuts and dried fruits.
Even though we have been sailing around the world for 16 months, we have only reached New Zealand. Yachts need to leave the tropical islands of the South Pacific between December and May due to the cyclone season. In the northern hemisphere, we call it hurricane season and there we need to be north or south of certain latitudes between June and October to be relatively safe from hurricanes. So we have sailed S/V Trillium to New Zealand where she will get some rest and refitting before going back up to the tropics in May.

Pounds and pounds of candies and other sweets are
everywhere you turn. I don't have a sweet tooth so it
was too much for me to appreciate!
We are doing what we call the "double loop" as we are flying around the world in the middle of our sail around the world. We want to see our children and grandchildren - and meet one who arrived six months ago! So we are taking a two month break from living on the boat to living in hotels. I must say that I was very excited with the big bathtub in the first hotel in Sydney as I haven't soaked in a tub in months! It is something I love to do to ease my back muscles.

Windows full of wonderful foods.
Our double loop began by flying from Auckland to Sydney where we spent one night near the quay and enjoyed the area. We will be back there for the hurricane season next winter. Then we started our 30 hours of flying PLUS layover time! We flew from Sydney to Guangzhou, China where we changed planes. I was a little unsure of flying China Southern, but found it to be a great flight with excellent service. From there we flew to Paris and then to Istanbul. They are an Air France partner.

And more sweets!
We decided to have a real vacation: nice hotel, great restaurants, sight seeing and relaxing! Since neither of us had been to Istanbul before, it seemed like a great place to explore. And it was! We loved the archeological sites and the historical buildings. It is a great walking city and our sea legs got quite a workout on the concrete and pavers! More time in the hot tub!

Loved the natural sponges hanging.
Pipes and ceramics were everywhere.
I could not believe the number of shops selling nuts, spices, pastries, Turkish Delight and other candies. Everywhere you turn there is a shop and someone trying to get you to buy from them. I don't know how they make any money due to the competition and the fact that they are all selling the same things. And I also wonder what happens to the unsold items at the end of the day. And I am not even talking about what is in the Spice  Bazaar and the Grand Bazaar!
The special Turkish cheese was very good.

It is a visual to behold!
Those two places were amazing but also caused sensory overload! After a while, it was dizzying to look at all of the things for sale. Who in the world consumes all of it? I also wondered how much of it is designer knock-off created in China. I wouldn't buy anything that might be since it will probably be confiscated at U.S. Customs when you return home.

Tiles in the Blue Mosque are stunning.
Beautiful designs and still vibrant.
I was also overwhelmed by the beauty of the ancient tile work is the mosques. The colors are still so vivid even after all of the years they have been standing there! While the Hagia Sofia and the  Blue Mosque are amazing structures that have stood the test of time, I find it disconcerting to think of all of that opulence for pure pleasure. And I think of the architectural feat of building such structures, but at the expense of human lives.

Preserved in the Hagia Sophia

It is quite amazing to think that so long ago people moved huge columns of marble and stone and build domes high in the air without cranes and billion dollar price tags. And the amount of gold leaf used in these buildings is mind boggling! It is wonderful that they are so well preserved that we can view them in today's world.
The Hagia Sophia is now a museum

We are enjoying this fabulous city. Here we are in
front of the Hagia Sophia once a church and a mosque.

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