Sunday, September 14, 2014
Day 11: Entering into Istanbul
Today our journey continued on into Istanbul. This morning we said goodbye to our Grecian guide, Eugenia, and bus driver, Bobbis, and thanked them for taking such good care of us in Greece. Eugenia was a wonderful guide, sharing her vast knowledge with all of us daily, and Bobbis was the best bus driver ever, so kind and gentle but he could also work magic with our tour bus, squeezing it in and out of some very tight place. Most of the day was spent getting through Turkey customs and then driving into Istanbul. Thankfully we navigated the customs process without too much difficulty and welcomed our Turkish guide, "Jimmy" who was a retired university professor who had studied at several U.S. universities. Istanbul is a huge city, spanning more than 120 miles west to east. Along the way we learned that more than 36 sites in Asia Minor are mentioned in the Bible and is the land where the first disciples and traveled through. John, Paul, Luke, Barnabas all traveled through Turkey. 55 million people live in Turkey, with almost 22 million of those in Istanbul. We arrived in Istanbul and celebrated Mass at St. Stephanos Catholic Church. After that we drove the rest of the way to the hotel and got to experience first-hand rush hour traffic in Istanbul--unlike anything most of us had ever seen!