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Four Continents in a Week

When your flight plan takes you through Istanbul, Turkey, why not go ahead and just hang out for a few days?

And while you're at it, why not just head over to Greece too? I mean, as long as you're in the neighborhood. 

Why not? Well, visiting Greece involved missing the last few days of school, so just Grace and her Daddy got to be the lucky ones to do that part. Pretty awesome experience for my 13-year-old Percy Jackson fan. The rest of us left the day after HOPAC finished (Which, yes, this did mean that I departed Dar es Salaam by myself at 3 a.m. with my three remaining children. But no worries--only two of them threw up on the plane. That was totally fun.) Ahem. But hey--Greece for my daughter and husband: Worth it.

We met up in Istanbul, which we explored as a family for four days. We visited the famous Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia--the church turned mosque turned museum, and the massive underground Basilica Cisterns. We visited museums full of ancient statues, thousands of years old, and other pieces pillaged from Egypt and the middle east during the reign of Constantinople. We traveled by ferry and tram and bus and suspended trolley.

But our kids' favorite part was probably the food, especially since they had been inculcated by Mark Weins' food videos for a few weeks before the trip (who happens to be the son of a friend of ours). America sells nachos and hotdogs in their park stands, but Istanbul sells corn-on-the-cob and chestnuts. We never got tired of the thinly sliced meat and the piles and piles of Turkish delight. And of course, the ice cream sellers who always tease their customers with lavish performances before finally handing them a cone.

Since Istanbul has the distinction of being part of two continents, we were all pretty impressed that we went through four continents in a week: Africa, Europe, Asia, and North America. 

She's a runner, and now she's run in the original Olympic stadium. How cool is that?

Back together again in Istanbul

He went through four continents in a week, and I think his favorite part was this kitten. 

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