It was a perfect family weekend – just three hours on an aeroplane and we were in a different world.
Istanbul was pulsing with life and history, warm hospitality, colourful bazaars and gorgeous food.
We wandered around with the boys, eating hot mussels in the street, tasting Turkish delight in the Spice Market, ogling artistic and architectural masterpieces of the Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman Empires, skipping along the rocks beside the Bosphorus and haggling over the price of a chess set in the Grand Bazaar.
We felt safe at all times (some people thought we were crazy to go), the Turks were delightful to our children (and us) and we are keen to return and explore more of the country.
Yet I found myself trying to commit every beautiful sight, every perfect moment, to memory.
Because I am not sure that we will always be able to return here.
Religious extremism is rising in Turkey and the secular democracy created after the First World War by Turkey’s visionary founding father Mustafa Kemal Ataturk is under threat.
I hope very much that this country, pulled so strongly toward both the East and the West continues to hold itself together and keep its people and its heritage safe.
For now though, normal life continues in this fantastic city. We plan to be back before the end of summer to see a lot more.