Part III: Sushi for One, Guns & Moses, and “Jesus Christ Superstar” – My Journey to Israel

The flight to Israel from Amman, Jordan to Tel Aviv was just a 45 minute hop, and I arrived at 5:00 on a Friday afternoon, the start of the Jewish Shabbat or sabbath. From sundown Friday to sundown Saturday, Israeli public transit, stores, and many restaurants and services close down. The airport was like a ghost town, and the heavy security screenings I’d anticipated did not happen at all.

The jumbled city-scape of Tel Aviv as seen from my descending plane

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“Is First Time in Hamam?” – An Introduction to Istanbul

An almost perfect view of the Blue Mosque from my hotel roof… except for that pesky POPCORN sign!

In 2014, after exploring nearly every corner of Europe, I set my sights upon Turkey as my next vacation adventure. After spending a few days in the exotic and lovely Cappadocia region of central Turkey, hiking scenic desert canyons, staying in a hotel carved into bizarrely shaped rock formations, dining on wonderful food, and trying to learn a little Turkish, it was time to go to the big city, and as I boarded my flight and buckled myself in, I practiced the wealth of Turkish I’d acquired thus far. I knew merhaba (hello), but found “goodbye” in Turkish to be unpronounceable, so I avoided that phrase! Kelebek (which was the name of my hotel in Cappadocia) means “butterfly” and of course everyone knows what a kebab is. As the flight attendant gave her safety briefing, I added cikis to my vocabulary, which means “exit.” Oh yes, Istanbul, I am ready for you!

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