January/February 2016 - Back trouble on the Bosphorus

Our sourcing travels are wonderful.  We love the research, exploration and discovery involved in going off the beaten track to find our treasures each year.  However, it isn't always quite as idyllic as it may seem.  

This year we had arranged to visit Istanbul to pick up our visas for an extended exploration of Iran; long on our bucket list of destinations. The "tour" (necessary for Brits, Americans or British-passport-holding-Russians) was organised so that we would have as much freedom as possible to wander as will. 

On the flight out John had been suffering shoulder pain, initially self-diagnosed as age- and luggage-related, but this rapidly escalated into something necessitating a visit to A&E at the Amerikan Hospital in Istanbul. Superb and prompt investigations showed that he needed emergency spinal surgery - not something one wants to hear 1000kms from home! After the usual "discussions" with our travel insurer the surgery went ahead and, despite lasting 5 hours more than the expected 2 hours in theatre, was successful. The professionalism, expertise and care at the hospital easily matched anything available in the UK, NHS or private.

But we couldn't go to Iran.


Instead we spent 3 weeks recuperating in Istanbul - no great hardship as it's one of the great cities of the world - involving lots of walking, superb food & wine and bobbing around on various boats on the Bosphorus before being considered well enough to fly home.

But we promised ourselves we would try again next year!