September 14, 2006, Istanbul

Here is a very nice story for kids and animal lovers: Apparently, one of the Sultans was fed up with the stray animals in town and ordered that they be all rounded up and taken out of town. The citizens refused to obey and decided to take care of them. Even today, Istanbul’s stray dogs (at least those in the center, where we were staying) all had red clips with numbers in their ears showing that they were taken care of and vaccinated! I had never seen this before and it is a good example of how to treat these poor creatures with respect!

Of course, with the past two days being as hectic as they were, we did not always have time to catch the TV news, so it was a very warm good-bye from Istanbul when our Turkish Airlines plane took off and, just minutes later, the Turkish National TV station featured N7W on their inflight news program in the air.

Good-bye, Turkey and good-bye, Istanbul, city of 7 mosques on 7 hills! Very good memories will stay with us all!

Oh, by the way, we left Markus in Istanbul—he had to stay behind to see that our N7W balloon makes its way to Moscow. He was helped by the President Hotel’s exceptionally friendly and helpful hotel manager, Mr. Oktay. Thanks to their efforts, we’ll be able to have our N7W balloon continue its journey around the world by flying over Red Square!