The news on Turkey is barely encouraging few hours before our departure. Just 5 days ago, a bomb blast rocked a city near Syrian border. Well, the city is actually quite far from Istanbul and Goreme, our 2 main destination. But even if you googled Istanbul, there were 3 bombs and 1 attack in the first half of 2016.
And to add more to the situation, Turkey are still in the state of emergency following the failed coup in July 2016. The state of emergency is expected to stay until January 2017.
So, why are we going after all?
First, and this is what we are counting on, the media often over-report a certain situation that is not really accurate, just like we learn from recent US presidential election. I have checked with several Turkish friends who lives in Istanbul. The situation wasn’t as bad, although most of them recommend to avoid tourist crowd.
Second, the fear created by point 1 above has created a low tourist season in Turkey. This in turns results in everything being sold at a discount, mainly hotel and local tour. For example, we were able to book a family room in 3-star hotel in the heart of old Istanbul within 10 minutes walk from Haghia Sophia for 213 Euro for 3 nights, breakfast included. This also include 1-way airport transfer and half-day city tour for 3 adults.
Third, and my main reason for the trip, is to join Istanbul Marathon. Why Istanbul, you may ask. Because, it is the only event in which you can run from Asia to Europe, through Bosphorus bridge, which is normally closed for pedestrian. This will be once-in-a-lifetime run where you can run between 2 continent.
So here we are, sitting at the airport waiting lounge, anxious to wait for the boarding call and start our Turkey trip.
Post-trip edit: Our guess of security thankfully turns out to be true. While most public place such as Ataturk Airport and Grand Bazaar was guarded by armed guard, we still feel safe walking around Istanbul street. Even at night, there are still few women walking alone on the street, a thing that I use to measure security of an area.