What an interesting city filled with mosques and ruins from the Middle Ages when this city, once called Constantinople, was the capital of the world. The Roman Emperor Constantinople decided the Roman Empire, which controlled most of the civilized world at the time, should be ruled from Istanbul, instead of Rome, since it was more centrally located in the empire. In the city you find the spice market, grand bazaar, Hagia Sofia, Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque, Galata Tower, Galata Bridge, Suleymaniye Mosque and so many other sites. We went somewhere different during this trip to Istanbul, taking a Funicular to Taskim Square. We walked down Istiklal Caddesi where there are a lot of shops and eateries to enjoy. We first enjoyed a Doner Durum (chicken wrapped sandwich) to start our walk as well as a Turkish ice cream treat as these are some of our favorites while in Turkey! On our way down the road we stopped at the Galata Tower and went to the top to look at the tremendous panoramic views. We always enjoyed walking across the Galata Bridge and watching the hundreds of fisherman trying to catch fish off the top of the bridge with their lines hanging over the many people on the lower deck of the bridge eating at the many seafood restaurants below. We then walked through the Spice Market that we always enjoy seeing with all the colorful spices on display. Unfortunately the Grand Bazaar was closed because it was Sunday but we had been there before and enjoyed the shopping we had done. From there we walked up to the Hagia Sophia church which was the first church built in Istanbul which is over 90% Muslim. It is amazing how much this church looks like a mosque. Right across the plaza from this church is the Blue Mosque which is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Istanbul. As we walked back to the cruise ship from there we saw many restaurants preparing food specialties for their customers. It was fascinating to watch how they made their various specialties and definitely will plan to stop on another return visit. On our night sail out of the city we had an amazing sunset with many gorgeous views of the city. We have only provided just a few of the pictures taken and hope you will enjoy them.
Normally when we go to Kusadasi we either go to Ephesus (one of the oldest large cities ever discovered) or the Virgin Mary’s final home. Instead of doing one of these things we decided to try out a Turkish bath. We had the full treatment with the sauna, steam bath, salt room, scrub down, soap massage, cold whirlpool, face peel and oil massage. It was a real experience! You can see a picture of Greg with some of our Turkish bath “helpers”. After our “bath” we walked around the city and viewed the many fishing boats in the area and looked at Pigeon Island with Fort Genoese on it. We had an opportunity to walk through their Grand Bazaar and view the carpet weaving performed at one of the stores. We finished our visit with a nice walk along the shore to view some of the shops and restaurants including the unique sculpture of the hand reaching out to the birds. The port has definitely grown since last time we were here and there are many new things to see.
Greg & Sharon