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Food and travel captivate Janet Podolak, who chronicles both for The News-Herald. Get the back story of her three decades of stories here. Guest bloggers and fellow News-Herald staffers also periodically share details of their trips.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Awaking in Istanbul

A multitude of masks is showcased in this shop window in Venice.

Waking in Istanbul early Tuesday ended my magic carpet ride through the southern Mediterranean with the longest day imaginable. It ended at midnight in bed in Mentor after 26 hours elapsed time en route, factoring in the multiple time zones

A wild ride at more than 80 mph punctuated our 3:30 a.m. departure from our central hotel to the Istanbul airport by taxi, (Taksi in Turkish).  Despite telling our driver we weren't in that big a hurry, he roared pass  an ambulance with sirens blaring complete with a police escort.   Air France to Paris was almost four hours, followed by an 8-hour flight from Charles deGaulle Airport to Washington Dulles, aboard the Airbus 380, a 500-some passenger aircraft I first flew last June. Scroll down through these blogs to see my account, complete with photos, of that adventure.

The trip was a last minute one occasioned by Crystal Cruise Line discounting its seven day southern Mediterrean cruise segment to $1,595 for those booking before Oct. 31. My daughter rarely travels because she's afflicted with a puzzling  neurological condition that blindsides her when she least expects it. But she was able to find us flights into Venice and back from Istanbul for around $800, making this a deal we couldn't pass up.  I've cruised Crystal before and was fully confident that the Serenity, its extraordinary amenities and  staff along with  my careful observations of  my daughter would make this trip possible.

An unanticipated surgery for me 10 days before our departure made things somewhat iffy with thoughts of the blind leading the blind, but we departed on time on Sept. 29.
The beautiful fijord of Kotor, Montenegro is reflected in the Lido deck window for passengers enjoying an outdoor breakfast aboard the Crystal Serenity.  

We visited Sergio, my favorite mask maker in Venice; a medieval village on the boundary of Emilio  and Romagna in Italy; popped in on the multiple cats on the streets of  Kotor, Montenegro;  fell under the spell of enchanting Corfu,  explored the ancient birthplace of Apollo on the sacred island of Delos; ate freshly caught sardines in Mykonos; and shopped till we dropped at the Grand Bazaar and Egyptian Spicie Market in Istanbul. I'll bring you those stories in upcoming travel sections, but for now conquering jet lag is my major challenge.

My usual  tactic of lots of fresh air and exercise added to yesterday's dazzling sunshine is doing the trick. I'm still waking at 3 a.m. and falling asleep by 8, but it's already Friday and  I am feeling human again.

Feral kittens along a street in Kotor play with a sardine tossed their way before realizing it's good to eat. 

Meanwhile, be sure to catch Sunday's Travel with lots of closer to home options for celebrating the season's spooky choices and my own story about the views from the Old Post Office in Washington. D.C.

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