Turkey. I have been daydreaming about visiting Turkey for so, so long. This place has history on the scale of Rome. When I learned of Cappadocia I knew that this was somewhere I would definitely want to visit.
Scott's been planning our honeymoon for months, and is apparently very good at keeping a secret because nobody was able to get it out of him. There were four people who knew where we were going, largely for practical reasons, and I was not one of them (also for practical reasons, since it was my surprise). I had several theories (one of which turned out to be correct!) but each had a counter point as to why it couldn't be there.
This was one of our least shevelled departures to date. The plan had been to let me know by giving me the travel guides that he'd bought when we were on the plane, but it was not to be.
The letters. The thank you letters. As usual we'd overestimated our capacity for getting things done before leaving. One such thing was writing thank you notes to various people who were involved in our wedding. Since we didn't send out conventional invitations, it was important to me that the notes were personally written and not just printed off templates. I wanted to include some of the professional photographs in a few of them, and we only received those last Tuesday. What stopped me from writing the notes beforehand and getting the envelopes all ready to go, we will never know.
Hand-writing approximately sixty letters is a time consuming business. More so than I might ever have imagined, and we ran out of time to mail them. No matter, we thought… we'll stop in at a Postnet in town en-route to the airport (after this much effort we weren't going to risk having the SA Post Office disappear them). But we were late. And it was raining. And we were taking a taxi to the bus via the Postnet, and then the bus to the airport and all in Cape Town's rush hour (a little after 3pm).
There was no way that we would make it to both the Postnet and our flight on time. Crap. Ok, well, we knew there was an SA Post Office at the airport - we'd send them all registered from there. And so off we went to the airport with our little baggie of sixty hand-written thank you notes, all sealed and without stamps. What we failed to take into account was that South African government institutions will rarely work past 15h30 and so after we'd checked in (still without me knowing where we were leaving for) we set out to find the Post Office. Needless to say it was closed and we were now stuck standing in the middle of what felt like Grand Central station, on a time budget and trying to figure out what to do.
Scott knew. Scott always knows what to do.
"We'll find stamps here in the airport and send all the South African letters from in South Africa using the regular post box, and offer up a sacrifice to the postal deities to increase our odds that the letters will make it there. Then, all the international letters we'll take along and mail from Istanbul!"
I had to ask him to repeat himself. And he did - we'll send the rest from Istanbul. After months and months of saving the secret, this was how I'd learn that we were going to Turkey? I felt a fleeting flash of annoyance at him for being a jackass, but that was rapidly replaced by the best kind of excitement ever! I would learn once we were in Istanbul that we were not only going to Istanbul, but also to Cappadocia and if we felt like it, also to the south of Turkey where they have gorgeous tropical beaches.
Other than a bad landing in Johannesburg, all three of our flights were largely uneventful (though I did manage to leave one of them without my 5-year old ipod nano, which made me a little sad). After getting in to Istanbul it took about an hour and a half to actually get out of the airport, and we took the subway and trams into town. Istanbul has a great subway system, and when we were on the tram, we passed by one amazing sight after another. I felt like I was in a documentary - what were all of these incredible old buildings that we were passing?
Scott's booked us into a really nice hotel and it is in a brilliant area. After we'd dumped our bags we took out for a walk. We walked and walked and walked. We were both so exhausted, but we traipsed the streets in our area like a pair of undead lovers until late at night. Today we have plans to visit some of the recommended places listed in the Wallpaper guide and I'm expecting to have happily aching feet by tonight.
I think that my Scoddy may just have outdone himself. What a freaking lucky girl I am. It still all feels like a dream.