Believe it or not, I don’t think I have too much to say about our stay in Istanbul.  We had about 5 days there, did a variety of things and had much more than our fair shares of bakalava:)

One thing I really loved about the city is how they drink tea so often.  Tiny little 2 oz tea shots.  It’s so strong and heavily sweetened.  I loved their apple tea; it tasted just like a Jolly Rancher.  There were vendors who would walk down their routes and hand out tea to the shopkeepers.  When they finished their tea, they just set it on the ground outside their door and another vendor would come and take it away.

One of the major parts of the city is the Grand Bazaar.  It’s basically been running since the 15th century.  Burke and I actually preferred to do our window browsing outside of the Grand Bazaar because the local shops are nearby and things cost only 1/4 of the price.

All the booths in the spice market look the same, but that doesn't mean they're not impressive!


Henna in the spice market.

Let’s not forget about some of the biggest attractions of the city.  First up is the Hagai Sofia.  It is beautiful!  It was originally a church and then a mosque but now it is a museum.

I had a HARD time seeing on the first day. Semi-luckily, the rest of our days weren't so sunny so I could see better post-hospital release.

Next, the Blue Mosque.  It’s on one of the many lists of 7 wonders of the world (I think there maybe 6 lists now).  Its called the blue mosque, not because of the grayish blue exterior, but because of the intricate blue tiles on the inside.  I actually think it’s quite creepy looking from the outside.  It reminds me a little bit of a pile of turtles, and turtles in a pile is just not natural.

Hey, you know them!

This is from the roof of our hotel.

There were lots of stray cats and dogs, which you probably know by now is one of my favorite things!

Dog outside the Hagai Sofia= Haggie?

There are 3 parts to the city, one part is in Asia.  One day we walked all the way to the European part and experienced that side of the city.  Another day we took a ferry to the Asian side.  The photo below was taken from the ferry on the way back.

This is my favorite photo I've ever taken.

This is not an uncommon thing to see.

Home of the Kebap; sadly, where ever there are kebabs, there are not necessarily falafel.

Basically Burke and I had a great time.  We planned to spend a day in Bulgaria on the way back, but based on our experience southbound we decided against it.  Oh and if you wondered about what it was like on the train on the way back north, they smuggle CHEESE.  That’s right.  Feta cheese… in huge tubs.  Anyway, it was a vacation we will never forget:)