Turkey: Hot Air Ballons, Underground Cities, and Adventures

We were welcomed with warmth and hospitality during our time in Turkey. At the time of our travels, the Russians were engaged in a war of words with the Turkish government over the downing of a Russian fighter in Syria/Turkish airspace and terrorist attacks had recently hit Ankara and Istanbul. We weighed the pros and cons and elected to proceed, being alert in Istanbul and avoiding the border regions impacted by refugees and the Syrian war.

Some of you may be familiar with a song that talks about Constantinople’s name change to Istanbul. Throughout our time in the city, we were humming the tune. Younger folks will recognize the “They Might be Giant’s version” but the song was originally recorded in 1953 by “The Four Lads.” It is a catchy tune..

Istanbul was Constantinople
Now it’s Istanbul, not Constantinople
Been a long time gone, Constantinople
Now it’s Turkish delight on a moonlit night
Even old New York was once New Amsterdam
Why they changed it I can’t say
People just liked it better that way
We found Istanbul to be an incredible city of history. Having just been in Asia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, Istanbul was as advertised–where Asia and Europe touch.
After a few days in Istanbul we headed to Cappadocia where we explored underground cities some dating back to the 8th-7th centuries BCE. A highlight of our trip to Cappadocia was also the chance to go hot air ballooning as a family.