--Susan; Jun 5, 2005
these buttons to listen to the call to prayer (in Arabic)
while you read.
Five consecutive flights over 4 countries and
33 hours of travel time later, we arrived dusty and exhausted
in Istanbul. We added Turkey to our itinerary on a whim just a
week ago and I didn't really know anything about it except that
it was foreign, exotic and that sultans once lived here. I wasn't
at all prepared for what we've seen so far.
The airport is very modern and stainless-steel
slick. It's very clean - much cleaner than anywhere we visited
in South America. We drove into town along a, beautiful stretch
of Manmara Sea harbor. It's crowded with cars and traffic-y but
even the Mercedes-clad taxi drivers are courteous with each other.
It's Sunday and the park along both sides of the road is crowded
with picnickers, large family gatherings, barbecuing, playing
softball, football (soccer) and listening to live music. Lots
of women are in a mix of contemporary clothes and headscarves.
(Aya Sofya Mosque on the left, the Blue Mosque on the right)
The driver turns into our neighborhood, Sultanahmet,
the center of tourism in Istanbul. It's filled with cute cobblestone
streets and has two massive mosques in view with carpet shops
lining both sides of the road. We step out of the car and are
hit with the delicious sweet smell of something in the air we
can't quite place (warmed cloves, cinnamon?).
A bit later we embark on our traditional Day
1 wander-through-the-neighborhood walk and quickly discover that
Istanbul is a treat for the senses:
eyes: the visuals here are just nuts; the colors are beautiful
and the buildings are out of a crazy tale
ears: the call to prayer from many mosques at once, several
times a day – it’s like surround sound times five
nose: the food, incense, etc.
the Blue Mosque
lit at night
And to top it all off, the weather's perfect
- dry and just cool enough for a light jacket. We pass by a whirling
dervish (no, not just whirling down the street, but performing
at a small restaurant). We choose a small café, and the
food is delicious – stewed lamb, Turkish tea, yummy grilled
veggies. Afterwards, we buy some baklava and Turkish tea cookies
at the bakery (this place is gonna make us fat). We're exhausted,
but we can’t wait to get up and get started tomorrow morning.
Istanbul is the most beatiful city in
the world. Everybody should come and see it because i know
if you come and visit our country, you change your life
--Erhan K. (Turkey); Jul 1, 2006
I agree with your comments on Istanbul,
we were just there a week ago and this place is amazing!
The people are very polite and are willing to help you out
if you even the least bit lost wandering the streets!! The
food - wonderful, sights are amazing. I am all ready wanting
to go back. I wish I would have had more time there, next
vacation will be back packing Turkey for sure. We felt safe
wandering around both day and night. I can not say enough
great things about this place.
--Jillian C. (Calgary, Canada); Jun 5, 2006
I must say it's excellent website. While
I am still undecisive to North of Italy or Turkey. Your
Turkey itineary invaluable information in the website just
help me to decide to Turkey.
I would suggest Turkey government should present your a
commendation for the best Ambassador of Tourism. Any how,
I will try my best to take the Turkey trip with my son aged
10 in the coming July/August for two to three weeks, depends.
Last not the least, thanks so much for your invaluable