Travels to Barcelona and Istanbul, Intro

We’re just back from some wonderful travels. Our original destination this year was Barcelona, Spain. We’d been there before, and I had actually worked there during the 1992 Olympics, but we were more than willing to go back and spend some more leisurely time than what we’d experienced in the past. Mmm, tapas!

Barcelona panorama

Barcelona panorama from Tibidabo

While planning for the trip and looking at airline routes and fares earlier this summer, I kept on getting hit online with a tremendous deal that far surpassed in cost effectiveness any other route: traveling to Barcelona through Istanbul on Turkish Airlines. Our first reaction was, Cool! What a great place to visit! We’d already been looking at other routes with attractive stopovers to enhance the trip: Amsterdam, Paris, Frankfurt, London… But then my second reaction was, Do I really want to spend an extra three hours on the plane to Istanbul and then another 3 1/2 on another plane to fly BACK to Barcelona, and then repeat that on the return flight?

The more we thought about it, though, the more enticing the possibility of experiencing Istanbul grew. We asked Malury, our friend and travel agent, whether she’d be able to extend our almost twelve-hour layover in Istanbul into two or three days without extra charges, and she said that she could. That clinched it; we told her we’d go for it. Our round trip tickets, then, out of Houston to Barcelona via Istanbul, ran us only $925 USD plus a small ticketing charge. The itinerary Included a layover of three magical nights and two and a half days of exploration time in Istanbul on our way home.

So, for the purposes of this travel account, I’m dividing our travel photos into general Barcelona photos, photos of the Montserrat Monastery outside of Barcelona, and photos of Barcelona food (tapas!) and markets. Istanbul will be covered in subsequent posts, divided into general Istanbul scenes, photos of mosques, and colorful shots of Istanbul’s bazaars.

Disclaimer: I am not a photographer by any stretch of the imagination; these photos were taken on regular digital and tablet cameras of the “point-and-shoot” kind. Nevertheless, I hope you find them fun.