Another Great Day

Istanbul Travel Blog

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November 23, 2009

Istanbul, Turkey

Another great day. There were only 12 of us on our private tour today, which was really nice. Again, we had wonderful weather, a little chilly, but still very nice. And another really good tour guide. We stopped to see the Ancient Hippodrome, the Egyptian Memorial (the Obelisk), then walked to the Blue Mosque, which is huge and very ornate. Shoes needed to come off before entering, and there were plastic bags to put them in and we carried them with us until we got outside again. Our guide is a Muslim, so he was able to give a really thorough explanation of their religion (although it definitely differs from our Scriptures). From there we went to Topkapi Palace and spent 2 hours there. There are rooms called the Treasury with most of the jewels owned by the kingdom. Amazing things including emeralds and diamonds that were really huge. One of the diamonds is 68 carats. That's about as big as a plum or an apricot. Unbelievable. There were thrones, crowns, goblets, all kinds of things just loaded with jewels. Even a baby cradle for the king's sons covered with jewels. But, no sides. Can you believe it? How did the baby not fall out? After leaving the Palace, we went to the Grand Bazaar and did a little shopping. That place is huge, too. There are over 4,000 shops inside. We had lunch there with another couple in our group. Sat next to 2 American couples who we thought were from one of the cruise ships. Turns out the men both work for Best Buy and are coordinating the building of a store in Istanbul. One of them is from Pittsburg. Lunch was good, but, like most of the things there, a little expensive. Then we went to this huge cistern that runs underneath the streets. It's 10 acres. It actually saved the city when they were under siege, because they always had a supply of water, even when their attackers blocked their main supply. It doesn't sound like much, but it was really interesting. After that, we went to the Spice Market, for more shopping. The smells in that place are absolutely wonderful. I could have stayed there for hours, just sniffing the smells. Lots of people selling all kinds of food, including baklava, and giving samples. Yum! We ended up buying some baklava that we had shrink-wrapped so it will stay fresh until we get home. So, it was really a full day with lots of walking, and we came back to the ship exhausted with really aching knees (yes, both of us).

Went to the show after dinner, which was a 50's Rock and Roll show. Pretty good. One of the main singers looks a whole lot like Joe.

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photo by: Memo