When I was booking my flights, I purposely made a 13-hour layover in Istanbul on my way from Shiraz to Brussels. This was my third time in Istanbul and I absolutely loved being back there. I had an easy morning in Sultanahmet (where Hagia Sofia and the Blue Mosque are located) and had a nice Turkish breakfast. As it turned out, my server was an Iranian refugee who fled Iran during the 2009 Green Revolution, and is awaiting his refugee application to Canada, USA, or Australia. It was refreshing to talk about Iranian politics, which I wasn’t able to do freely while I was in Iran. On a more positive note, I was able to locate my old hostel, where I had met my friend Alastair back in 2007, when I traveled Turkey for three weeks. Alastair had redrawn my travel route, which forever changed my conception and appreciation for the Middle East. I was deeply moved and happy to find the old hostel. I also enjoyed sitting by the Bosphorus Straight and soaking in the warm air and sea currents. I had missed that while being in the hot and desert climate of Iran.