Snowy night outside our Sultanahmet apartment.

In many parts of the world, winter has settled in- into the cracks of footpaths and drafts of windows. Snow flurries are crashing at excited paces, urban streets are white with a fierce relentless, and country fields glisten in all their beauty.

Since we moved out of DC, we’ve traveled through multiple regions with wildly varying climates. Being properly prepared for any curve “snowballs” thrown our way has presented a unique set of challenges. Knowing we would be traveling through much of Eastern Europe during early Spring, we were savvy enough to pack particular cold climate essentials. But we never dreamed of having to whip out our goose-down sleeping bags (rated for 20° F, -6° C) or long john thermals while living in Istanbul.

Our Turkish apartment was located in the old Ottoman Sultanahmet neighborhood, formerly known as the Hellenistic Greek city Byzantion, before it was renamed Constantinople by the Romans. We were surrounded by thousands of years of ancient history! We lived along the Golden Horn, an inlet of the Bosphorus Sea where the straight enters the Sea of Marmara dividing the city of Istanbul into its European and Asian sides.

We thought living in a Mediterranean climate would afford us a relatively mild winter. Little did we realize a natural phenomenon known as “sea-effect snow” occurs specifically in the regions of the Black Sea in Georgia and… Turkey. This left an entire city of Turks & expats alike utilizing makeshift wooden paddles as shovels to muck out endless snow, and it threw us mother nature’s first curve “snowball” of our international journey.

As one can see, we toughed it out in our Turkish blizzard in our near freezing apartment, but is it any wonder we were so easily inspired to escape to the Greek Isles last week? Stay tuned to more adventures as we travel everywhere.

While exploring Santorini’s coastline, Shannon took time out to try a random tree swing.

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