Saturday, May 21, 2011

Istanbul (part 1, lots of pictures!)

Whoa, I can't believe that we have only been home for a month since our trip, it seems like we were there last year. Time has just been flying by lately. Well, here's what we did in Istanbul! We got there around lunch time on April 20th and had the hotel pick us up from the airport, I am not sure how we would have gotten into town otherwise. So after they paged my name four times while we waiting in the customs line we jumped in the van and were off for our first look at Istanbul!

We met up with Andy and Pam at the hotel and headed out to find some kebabs for a snack before dinner. We wandered up the road and found a little restaurant right next to the Blue Mosque, it was literally a five minute walk from our hotel. After our snack we walked around and looked at the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque and then we went back to the hotel for a quick nap and shower before we went out to dinner. It was surprisingly cold the first day we got there, they said that it had been pouring rain all morning. It was much colder than Paris and London. That night we met up with some of Andy and Pam's friends that were in town and had some dinner. Mikey got something with lamb probably and I had a cheese pida (just like a cheese pizza without sauce) and they were both very good. I had been a little worried about what I was going to find to eat in Istanbul because I can be a little picky about meats, but it was all just fine.

The next day we go up and had breakfast on the rooftop of our hotel and it had a wonderful view of the Bosphorus. After breakfast we headed up to the Blue Mosque to take a look inside, but before we went in Pam and I wanted to pick up some scarves to wear inside. We ended up at a lovely little store that had way too many scarves to choose from. I ended up getting a tan one and a red/green one. And then we were off to the Blue Mosque. Pam wasn't feeling too hot, so Andy walked her back to the hotel to take a nap and Mikey and I stayed to look at the Blue Mosque. We stood in line for a little while and then made our way inside. All the walls were covered in intricately decorated blue tiles, it was amazing.

Then after we spent some time inside, Andy came back and we walked around towards the Topkapi Palace and then through a lovely park with tons of tulips and then found a place for some lunch. They said they had doner meat, but it sure wasn't doner meat. Then after lunch Andy went back to check on Pam and Mikey and I made our way down to the water of the Golden Horn. We were offered lots of Bosphorus cruises and nicknack's and saw a lot of men fishing off the bridge.

After a stroll down the bridge we headed back to our hotel to see if Pam was feeling any better. And she was so we all made our way to the Cistern Basilica. It was very impressive. After that we headed back to the hotel and took a little nap before dinner. The boys were very excited for a rumor of flaming meat.

The next day we started off at the Topkapi Palace and the Harem. It was also very impressive. We even saw Moses staff and turban of Joseph along with a bow, sword, tooth, and footprint of Muhammad's. Then we saw the Treasury of the Palace, and there were tons of things covered in jewels. There was a dagger, thrones, a baby bassinet, and something called the Spoonmaker's Diamond that was 86 carats. This is getting long... I'll write another update on Istanbul soon! And I have started to realize I forgot to add some pictures from Paris and London, so there will probably be another blog for those!

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