Sooooo... Husband and I just got back from vacation. My intention was, as always, to blog my trip. I like doing that because it is a good reminder to me where I've been and when, just like a paper travel journal. A few times I looked back to my blog to fondly remember a trip I took. I was very excited when I learned that the hotel that we booked in Istanbul had free wi-fi. Except then I used the free wi-fi. It blocked CUSS. I'm not clear why, as the website that barred my access was in Turkish. I tried to use the online appeal form, but that didn't work. Hence no blogging the trip, which was a bummer.

We had an excellent time. The highlights included a six hour food tour, seeing the Byzantine mosaics at St. Savior Church, and visiting new and old synagogues on both the European and Asian sides of the city. Food tour aside, we ate a lot. There was some insanely delicious baklava, puddings, kebaps, and lokum (aka Turkish Delight). I was super excited to bring back two different kinds of olive paste for my sister, who loved eating this as a child when she visited her best friend, who was Turkish. The lowlight of the trip was having the olive paste thrown out by airport security at the fucking gate as we left. I was particularly vexed because they let me leave with hazelnut spread, which they said was not a liquid, while insisting the thick olive paste was. Husband thought I would be dragged off as I tried to reason with them. Logic lost. Anyway, pictures to follow.

Since we booked the trip using frequent flier miles, our return flight involved an overnight stay in Madrid. Fortunately, we were able to visit the Prado Museum (where I saw The Garden of Earthly Delights, a painting by Hieronymous Bosch that has fascinated me for years), walk around a beautiful park, and eat paella before heading back to the airport. The hazelnut spread was promptly seized and trashed by airport security. This weirdly made me feel better. I was also able to purchase more olive paste in a duty free* shop, albeit at three times the cost of the original jars.

A great trip, but it is nice to be home again. Even with the two foot high snow banks lining the cold streets.

*Personally, I prefer all my shops to be free of doody... ba dum dum....