I was a little nervous when I saw on the flight path that we would be overflying Mosul and Bagdad on the way to Istanbul. The planet has a good stock of madmen in positions of power currently - perhaps no more than in past eras, just more visible due to a world that never sleeps and insists that I know every terrifying thought that these nutters have.
So overflying Mosul would not be my preferred route to Europe. It's not on my bucket list. But I have lived to report that all is calm in the region particularly the space at and above 10,000feet.
I can also report that Turkish airlines has the most cramped seats I've ever experienced and food that does nothing to entice me to mosey through the back streets of Istanbul savouring the culinary delights. A pity given that I remember Istanbul as one of the delights of the trip Andrea and I made in 1977 (did I just admit to a 40 year gap between touchdowns?). My memories may be distorted since we had eaten pretty ordinary fare in Iran and Afghanistan immediatly prior to arriving in Turkey. The days we spent in Istanbul remain one of my favourite travel memories. Anyway I'm sure the food of Istabul is still magnificent, though the airport food looks very familiar. Call it International airport food and you have the picture.
Last time I flew to Europe was via Dubai, one of the more bizarre airports on the planet. Part theme park, part millionaires playground. I've never seen so much gold jewellery. Both Singapore and Istanbul by contrast feel much like home, Sydney even. A broad cross-section of faces and faiths and languages but with a strong sense of the secular. Comforting in a weird way.
Oops, there's my call. Will be in Croatia in two hours all being well. And in Montenegro by the afternoon.