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Weekly e-Gram for members and friends of Dublin Community Church

January 21, 2011


It’s useful for writing, like when you awaken at 2 in the morning local time and everyone else is asleep. I suppose body-clock wise it is still early evening for me but no matter, after a few hours of sleep while in transit, I only managed 4 hours of sleep. It will all work out.

So a quick overview of Istanbul reveals a city of 14 million and lots of water and lots of ferry boats and lots of traffic and lots of restaurants. A vibrant city. Yellow cabs. Massive mosques dominating the hillsides. Starbucks amidst local restaurants with a vibrant night life. Smoking is banned inside restaurants and so many have seating outside in the rather cool, January night air if one cannot survive an hour without a cigarette.

We were met by our old friend and taken to the ferry terminal, but with time to spare we sat at an outdoor café and sipped Turkish Tea. I remember being in London some years ago and having Turkish coffee….a very dark coffee with thick cream. So here I am in Turkey drinking Turkish Tea. Not sure what that means. There are tea estates in the country and apparently tea is preferred to coffee… though… tell that to the folks in London. The tea is served in a “tulip shaped” glass. Very stylish.

Anytime I am in a new city and can get on the water, I am delighted. And to be taken from the airport directly to the ferry terminal is my idea of seeing a city… case in point Istanbul.

While riding the ferry and reminiscing, I was able to see a timeline of history laid out before me as our boat cruised the southern shore of the city.

There we could see the fantastic Blue Mosque and over there the Hagia Sophia which was an ancient Byzantine Church then mosque now museum. Over there is the remains of the Byzantine walled city… which the Crusaders sacked when they were on their way to liberate the holy land. (from whom and what I am not certain since they left destruction in their wake, all for the glory of God).

And further on is the old Army Barracks which look stately on the hill. Florence Nightingale worked her nursing skills there in the 1800’s with the injured from the Crimean War up in the Black Sea. Finally the old German built Train Station which still is a part of the fabled Orient Express line as it heads to… the Orient.

A very modern city, though one with very ancient roots. I am expecting a call to prayer any minute now as the amplified sound will waft across the city from numerous mosques.

But, I suppose none of the callers have jet lag and so, for the moment, even I am ahead of the faithful here in Istanbul.

Peace, Rev. Bob Tussing

To follow Bob's journey via his blog, check in daily at:   www.revbobsjourney.blogspot.com

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