Atlanta's Hartsfield runway, Delta flight #36 and the wheels finally leave the ground. We are really on our way almost a year later than originally planned. The "we" happen to have been friends for over 30 years and thought we might travel well together ... and we did. Now, one other piece of history - You see I fell and broke my patella 6 days before we were to leave for Italy, France and England. A very grim day to say the least. Ah, well, this time we are off to Istanbul and a Black Sea cruise. Just the confusion of their airport, trying to find our bus to the ship gave an inkling to those "funny wrinkles" in our personalities.
The ride was along the waterfront with visions to the right of rusting ship hulls laying at anchor. To the left, beige horizontal buildings were stacked and stacked. Minarets pierced through the mass everywhere [later to learn, there were 3,000 mosque]. This is probably a good point to mention the local driving habits. There isn't enough time for road rage as every driver is intent on "squeezing" into invisible spaces between the not so invisible vehicles of every size. Centimeters seem an appropriate measure to occupy unflustered. It was the best show I've ever seen of pure intestinal fortitude. Eventually we arrived at Customs house and the Azamara Quest, our home for the next 12 days.... well, maybe. Our next hurdle, we were not on the manifest according to a very official young woman with more authority than English at which point Ed had endured more than he could tolerate, so off to have a smoke, in other words fix it. So, this young policeman and I patiently scanned the sheets until it was discovered we had been "upgraded". Once more through a security check and passports returned, up the ramp and aboard. Holy cow!! air conditioning ... yes .... now to find our staterooms [8039 and 8036], the last discovery. Heaven help us, taaa daaa, Ed's on the port [left] side and across our connecting hallway I'm on the starboard [right] side with balconies [yea!!!!]. Oh, I know it's those little pleasures that thrill the soul..... I need a drink and it's only the middle of the morning. Breath, don't forget to breath ..... lets go find lunch.
Now, Windows had a panorama view and the buffet wasn't shabby either. It would take a few days to figure out hot/cold, a little or a lot, Black Currant Sorbet ... ummmmmm, yummmmm!! decisions, decisions. As our heads began to droop closer toward our plates, naps seemed perfect,"call me when you wake", great. I have no memory of falling across the bed, only of the phone ringing and answering to Ed's voice far away. You know, we had a comfortable flight in Business Class, for what ever reason I just can't seem to sleep for more than a couple of hours. Anyway, it's time to canvas the ship and get our bearings while we wait for our luggage.
Dinner was complimentary in the Aqualina Restaurant. Well, if there was a course we weren't going to skip it; however, when you must order dessert first I've learned it could be the best part of the meal ... it was Grand Mariner Souffle.
There were no morsels left of Scollop's, Crab Salad, Lobster Bisque, Chilean Sea Bass, Lobster Thermador/Pot Pie AND a bottle of a really lovely Shiraz. Obviously, we are still savoring the memory of all those flavors. but the Souffle was a work of art on the tongue. It amazes me what can happen with some eggs, sugar and flavoring. Mercy me!!!! That old song comes to mind "heaven, I'm in heaven and my heart beats so that I can hardly speak" ..... you get the idea. Please don't make me move; could "they" just roll our chairs to where ever we're suppose to be next, PLEASE.
Next for me, I feel as though I've hit the day 1 wall. Begging off from further collective activity seems appropriate. Stumbling into my stateroom, grab a scotch, linger in a hot shower and, at last, quiet time on the balcony watching the water taxis and boats of all descriptions frantically churning to and fro. A second slower scotch, the whole area is lite up like in a holiday fashion: the Blue Mosque and Haige Sophia are directly across the inlet up on the hill. It is a strange and amazing place and the air is full of spice. Tomorrow will be a full day.
Well, seems a good place to stop and find a cup of tea .... join me?? Later...