Headed to Istanbul

The best road trips often start at the airport. So here we are with our friends Marcel and Karen headed to Istanbul. 


This summer we’ll be sailing the spectacular Turkish coast so we can accumulate our required out-of-Schengen days—the short version is that we can’t be in the EU for more than three months without overstaying our visas.


Last year we used Albania, Montenegro, and Croatia to clock out of Schengen, but this year we’re on the Aegean side of Greece so it looks like Türkiye is the place to do our “Schengen shuffle.”


When we mapped out our sailing plans for 2023, we discovered that marina prices have tripled in Türkiye. This meant that taking some road trips we hoped to do, just got a lot more expensive, especially if we needed to pay a marina to babysit our boat. 


So what do you do when your boat is already in a less expensive Greek marina and you have a little time to kill while you wait for an electrician? You head over now, rent a car, and check out all the far-reaching inland places you wanted to see. 


So off to Türkiye we went—by plane—and rented a car…First up was Istanbul. 


We arrived in the evening and had dinner overlooking the Hagia Sophia. 


The Hagia Sophia, with its sweeping history, has loooong been on our bucket list of things to see. It was built between 532 and 537 as an Orthodox Church and then became a Mosque after it was captured in 1493 by the Ottomans.  1493!  It was the largest church in the world for hundreds of years. This building has seen it all; earthquakes, capture, fire, religions, and now the Skillmans. 


It was magnificent to see her there, still patiently standing watch over the Bosporus as she has for centuries. But this time, she sees us too.

Some Turkish delight to end a lovely evening.

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