We survived the Kinshasa airport check-in and immigration (took about 3 hours!), had a quick last Fanta (Congolese beer for the adults) and plate of frites with mayo, and then traipsed down to a bus for our plane. Traveling with this much luggage is not something we usually do; add two kids to that mix, and, well, let's just say we were excited when we were finally able to sink into our airplane seats and relax! The flight was uneventful. Both kids slept for almost the whole flight, with Godson only waking up with ear pain at the tail end of the seven hours. Wow!
We arrived in Istanbul at about 6:30 am, and we were nervous at visa and passport control that they would not take Godson and Shekina's e-visas...but they took them! Not only that, one of the immigration officers picked Godson up, paraded him around, and had his picture made with him!!!
We headed to the Novotel, recommended by the Turkish Embassy in Kinshasa because it's located between Old Town and the airport. After dropping off our luggage and washing up a tiny bit, we took a free shuttle into Old Town Istanbul. We saw the Blue Mosque, and had lunch on a rooftop terrace with the best views ever. The Sea of Marmara was on my left, the Blue Mosque was in front of me, and the Hagia Sophia behind me. I believe there were sea views on my right as well! Unbelievable. The kids really enjoyed the view, chicken kabobs, and yet another Fanta, and we all enjoyed basking in the day's beautiful weather (82 degrees and sunny!). After that, we toured the Hagia Sophia, and then headed home around 3:30. We were simply too exhausted to do anything else. We're going to rest for a while, and then eat dinner downstairs at the hotel's restaurant. We've got a long day tomorrow. I'm not sure how long the flight from Istanbul to Chicago is, but considering we'll be flying westward, I bet it will be 10 or 11 hours. Sheesh! We hope the kids will do just as well on that flight, but since it's not a night flight, I have a feeling it will be totally different.
All right, I'd better get off the iPhone. Shekina is perched up on the window ledge as if she is going to jump from it to the bed. Yep, that's what she did. This girl never runs out of energy and never naps! Hope everyone is well.
At the Kinshasa airport
One last picture with our guide, Papa Fils
Godson isn't quite accustomed to the way Fanta tickles his nose yet!
Shekina behaved very respectfully in the Blue Mosque.
Papa Skip and Koko Vickie in the Blue Mosque
Rooftop views from the Seven Hills restaurant
Shekina's first fountain. Spray blew in the wind and got us all wet on the hot, sunny day. We loved it!