Ioannina, an inland city north of Athens and not far from the Turkish border, had been a populous Jewish community in Greece. Most of the Jews there were not Sephardim, though, but Romaniotes, a group he’d never heard of before.
He brought out a bottle of raki, an anise-flavored brandy that Aidan knew was a specialty of the country. Meryem removed a set of glass cups covered in silver filigree from a cabinet, and Yahya poured for each of them, adding a few drops of water from a silver pitcher. The liquid turned a cloudy white. “We call this aslan sütü—lion's milk,” Yahya said. “Milk for the strong and courageous. As you both are.”
Despite the late hour, there was a lot of traffic, and the atmosphere in the taxi was anxious. After what seemed like a long time, but was probably only about ten minutes, they were at the hospital’s brightly-lit emergency entrance, with the word ACIL in white block letters against a red background.
Yahya drove, with Liam in the front seat beside him, and Meryem and Aidan in the back. The affair was being held at one of the modern high-rise hotels near Taksim Square in downtown Istanbul, and Yahya left the car with a valet at the entrance. He took Meryem’s hand and they walked forward, with Aidan and Liam following.
Aidan did get a view of the magnificent bridge from the highway, though the cabbie exited just before it and drove along the riverfront for a short while, then turned inland. The buildings close to the water were tightly fitted, in a mix of stone and wood painted vibrant colors. As they climbed the gentle slope, though, the houses became larger and more spaced, with trees surrounding them.