Friday, April 1, 2011

Istanbul, Turkey

Never in a million years did either of us imagine that we would have the opportunity to travel the world and see such exotic cities like Istanbul in Turkey. It's a 4 hour direct flight from Abu Dhabi and a unique blend of European Culture, Asian influences, and Middle East religion. We spent 6 days at the Sultania (Hotel Sultania) in the Sultanahmet, the heart of old Istanbul. The hotel was located on a narrow, pedestrian street filled with restaurants and cafes, and located within walking distance of many of the sites.

We took a boat up and around the Bosphorous, which is the waterway that divides the Black and Marmara Seas from Europe and Asia. We toured the underground Basilica Cistern, Aya Sofya Museum, Blue Mosque, Grand Bazzar, Spice Bazzar, Topkapi Palace, and aimlessly wandered the winding streets. We traversed the Golden Horn via the Galata Bridge using the city's light rail and spent one evening walking up and down Istikalal Caddesi, the Grand Boulevard. Istikalal Caddesi is a shopping district on a pedestrian street with Istanbul's hottest bars and clubs located on the narrow side streets.

The weather was cool, rainy, and reminiscent of Seattle. It was a great escape from the desert and would have been a perfect vacation, but unfortunately, Jessica got food poisoning from the in-flight meal and spent the first two days in bed. As quickly as her illness came on, it passed and she was ready to make up for lost time. All in all, a great trip.

Istanbul Photo Album

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