Thursday, August 5, 2010
Vacation Dreams-Istanbul, Turkey
All ashore who's going ashore! Our next adventure on vacation was to board the Cristal, our home for the next 7 days. The ship held about 1000 passengers--so not as large as previous cruises we had been on--but it was certainly the means to be able to visit some of the next exciting places on our itinerary.
Our first port of call was Istanbul, Turkey. With only a day to spend, we decided to book a tour to maximize our visit. We visited The Blue Mosque, so named because of the beautiful blue tiles that adorn much of the inside. This was my first visit to a mosque & I found it beautiful and very different from the Catholic Church that I attend. There are no icons or statues, although the walls & ceilings are beautifully tiled. An interesting experience.
Our next visit was to Haggia Sophia. Once a Greek Orthodox Church, later a Mosque & now a museum, it is a beautiful example of Byzantine architecture.
Next was lunch and a visit to Topkapi Palace which was the home of the Sultans during the Ottoman Empire. We enjoyed visiting all the treasures which were housed in 5 or 6 separate rooms. They included items like thrones, jewelry, jeweled jugs, and armor. Lots of emeralds & rubies! Sorry, no photos allowed.
No visit to Turkey would be complete without a visit to the Grand Bazaar which is the oldest & probably the largest covered market in the world. It was hectic & exciting, sort of like a long road with side roads every 300 feet or so. We wisely stayed on the main aisle as many vendors had the same or similar merchandise & one could easily get lost!
Last, but not least was a visit to the famous Spice Market. A real feast for the senses as there are rows and rows of beautiful, colorful spices for sale as well as dried fruits, teas, nuts and seeds. Also a covered market in a similar style to the Grand Bazaar.
Thanks for coming along on my journey. I'll be back next week with our next port of call!
Have a great weekend friends!