I’ve only been there once, but Istanbul, Turkey is a port that’s not easily forgotten. The former Constantinople sits on two Continents – Asia and Europe – and combines the best cultural experience for visitors.
Istanbul is a bustling, cosmopolitan city and the people, the food, the market and the attractions are what make tourists return again and again. Following a cruise on the former Radisson Diamond, We spent four days there and stayed at the Ciragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul before heading home. This beautiful property was once a residence for sultans and it’s easy to see why. We were guests of a local tour operator who owned a home on the Asian side of the Bosphorus River. This lovely couple shared lunch with us at their home and showed us the city.
While I will always have fond memories, recent unrest there suggests I should cling to them because Istanbul will never be the same. I don’t know how this will pan out in the end, but I’m not very optimistic. I don’t think that the people there, still currently living in a democracy, will have the freedom associated with that much longer. I hope I am wrong.
I started thinking about the many places I’ve visited over the years that have had such dramatic changes that another visit would spoil the memory of my first visit: Israel and Greece are among them.
I know nothing stays the same forever and count myself as fortunate to have been able to visit these places, but I feel for generations to come who may never have those same experiences.
And that makes me sad.