Sarah’s Birthday

Sarah’s birthday started at the end of tour around Capaddocia tour in the traditional tourist rip-off shop where she spotted a nice pair of silver earrings and gave me big puppy eyes.  They suit her very nicely. We had dinner that night at one of the best restaurants in town which had a lovely view of the fairy chimneys at night.

This was just the warm-up to Sarah’s birthday, you understand, but due to a quirk of travel planning the actual birthday fell on the day we were leaving Turkey, flying from Capadoccia to Istanbul early in the morning, then flying on to Dubai to arrive at the end of Sarah’s birthday (strictly speaking).  I was amazed that none of the airlines stuck a candle in a dessert after sneakily ascertaining that it was Sarah’s birthday from her passport.  I guess you don’t get special treatment in the air any more.

The early morning start to the birthday day was amazing.  It was another clear blue day and the hot-air balloons drifted over Goreme, the town in Capadoccia we stayed in.  As we drove around town in the airport shuttle picking people up we had great views of the balloons drifting lower to come and look at us.

Despite the early flight we had a great (last) half-day in Istanbul walking down Istiklal Cadessi once more and stopping halfway along it for lunch in a stunning restaurant with an amazing view.  The food was easily the most imaginative we had in Turkey and probably the best tasting as well, which in a country with such tasty food is a big compliment.  The waiter serving us hadn’t been briefed about the dessert surprise though and didn’t have great English, but we got it through to him that there was a birthday taking place (I think the waiter thought it was mine) and received a beautiful chocolate fondant pudding with one elegant white candle.

Waddling off lunch we headed down to Galata bridge and caught a tram and the metro out to the airport.  A short flight later and we were in Dubai (yet again) where the hotel gave us a free upgrade to a suite which had a bathroom bigger than most of the hotel rooms we’ve stayed in.  Too tired to appreciate it, although thankful for the quiet room, we sank into a post-travel stupor.

We’ve celebrated four birthdays on these travels, Sarah and I as well as Jackie and Rick, Sarah’s parents.  I think the ladies had the best of it.  Sarah’s will be hard to top.  Hot-air balloons in the morning, an incredible lunch with a view in the capital of capitals and a night in a suite in Dubai.  Jackie did very nicely as well with a drink in a hip bar in Jerusalem and a fantastic Moroccan feast.  I had the best decorations ever when the hotel in Aqaba, Jordan went nuts on my room and then a very good seafood dinner out on the Red Sea.  Rick drew the short straw with pizza in Irbid, the horrible town we got lost in and almost ran over a child (although that was on a separate day).  The travel gods did not smile kindly on him that day. Never mind Rick, there’s always this year!

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