We arrived to Istanbul a couple days before the Gerze project meeting. This was the most economical way for us to get there and, well, it afforded us the opportunity to spend some time in the world famous city.
A cultural experience of a lifetime for the students. They had never been there. Immediately the fell in love with the city, the sights, the sounds, the smells. The people, the food, pretty much everything.
As we started at last day in the city we decided to visit the Blue Mosque before heading off to the Grand Bazaar and then back to Galata. After which we would had tickets for the night bust to Gerze.
Sounds like a great day, however, while we were in the Blue Mosque there was an explosion 120 meters away from us just outside the exterior wall of the courtyard. It transpired that it was a suicide bomber.
We took the students to a safe place and began the wait. We had to wait to find out if it was a gas mains explosion or an actual attack, we did not know then. Sitting in a safe place, drinking tea and coffee, relaxing etc. we found out what had actually happened and began planning our strategy. Everybody let their loved ones back home know we were all safe and sound. Then, after conferring with our school administration we headed off to meet the German and French teams. They were all fine and safe too. At the meeting it was decided that we would all travel onward to Gerze if the parents and the students agreed.
This is what happened, well, the Germans and the French carried on. We returned home as there were students and parents who believed it unsafe to stay in the country.
Though or trip was cut short by the actions of a few fools we all decided that we will return to Turkey and make it to Gerze somehow, some day.