June 2016
  • Day12

    Postscript

    June 27, 2016 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 30 °C

    I was dropping Dani off at Sarasota for her flight back to Atlanta the following day when I learned about the terrorist attack at the Istanbul airport. We all felt an immense sadness for the gracious people of this beautiful country who had been so welcoming to us. In the aftermath my pride in my girls and my husband made me very aware of what's important in life.
    Larry put it well "Don't let the recent bombing in Istanbul scar our vacation. Think of all the good times and friendly staff. I was not scared at any time, and never will be"
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  • Day11

    Goodbye Istanbul

    June 26, 2016 in Turkey ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    Our final evening was quiet. We had a good dinner at another neighboring restaurant & another round of drinks at the rooftop bar, enjoying the light show & snapping some pics of the Hagia Sophia.
    An uneventful trip back to Canada but this time with free movies and drinks. I was a bit teary saying goodbye to Nikki in Toronto but our plan to visit in September softened the blow. After arriving in Tampa, we saw the most amazing sunset on the drive back reminding us how much we love our home.Read more

  • Day11

    Topkapi Palace

    June 26, 2016 in Turkey ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

    The home of the Ottoman Sultans is a massive grand compound filled with impressive architecture, mosaics and porcelain treasures. After touring many of the hundreds of rooms, we made our way back to the comfort of the Han for more Gozleme.Read more

  • Day11

    Spice Bazaar

    June 26, 2016 in Turkey ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    Our morning began with a brisk walk to the Spice Bazaar, where we were charmed by the vendors into several purchases. Larry even got a genuine fake Gucci wallet!

  • Day10

    Birthday dinner & Blue Mosque Light Show

    June 25, 2016 in Turkey ⋅ ☀️ 28 °C

    Just up the street from our hotel was the Old House Restaurant which was highly rated on Trip Advisor and a great choice for my birthday dinner. Great food & service as the hospitality extended to tea & baklava. We continued the celebration on the rooftop bar of our hotel, sharing a carafe of raki & watching the sun set behind the Blue Mosque. After the Call to Prayer, we were treated to the nightly light show, a half hour history of the Mosque, broadcast through speakers as the building was lit up by changing brightly colored lights. A spectacular ending to my 60th birthday.
    We had become a bit alarmed about the loudly broadcast Call to Prayer which we learned occurred 5 times a day and was expected at sunrise. Our concern was warranted when we were awoken at 3:30 a.m. by the now familiar chanting. Luckily it was short lived and everyone got back to sleep.
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  • Day10

    Basilica Cistern

    June 25, 2016 in Turkey ⋅ ☀️ 29 °C

    Dan Brown's "Inferno", which Larry read last year, contains a vivid chase scene through the Basilica Cistern. We had to check it out! Plus it was very cave like. The underground cistern originally held the water supply for the palace in Istanbul but now contains only about a foot of water. It was mostly too dark for pictures but we got some shots of the columns of Medusa which are positioned upside down.
    After our morning sightseeing, we were warmly welcomed to lunch by the proprietor of The Han Restaurant and enjoyed Gozleme prepared by a older woman in the window of the cafe. As we were to experience throughout Istanbul, the Turkish hospitality included a flavorful tea, on the house.
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  • Day10

    Hagia Sophia

    June 25, 2016 in Turkey ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

    Across the grounds from the Mosque is the imposing Hagia Sophia which was originally built as a Byzantine Church, then converted into a Ottoman Mosque and finally secularized and turned into a museum. Nikki had studied the art and architecture of the building and shared her knowledge as we marveled at its beauty.Read more

  • Day10

    The Blue Mosque

    June 25, 2016 in Turkey ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    The Blue Mosque continues to be a place of worship and tourists conform to strict dress restrictions to respect the culture of the country, so we covered our heads and bodies and removed our shoes and entered this magnificent building. Our pictures don't do justice to the grandeur of the interior of the Mosque. Beautiful tile work, stained glass windows, a large expansive worship area for the men & a small enclosed room for the women. The grounds surrounding the area were pristine with the green grass & sparkling fountains and were a gathering spot for tourists and citizens alike.Read more

  • Day10

    Istanbul

    June 25, 2016 in Turkey ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

    We docked at Istanbul on my birthday. Overhearing my family's birthday wishes at breakfast, our waiters made me some beautiful paper flowers to help me celebrate. Disembarking was quick, and we left our week of luxury sailing behind, as we scrambled into a cab to our hotel.
    The Blue House was a very pleasant surprise. It was literally across the street from The Blue Mosque. We were greeted by a pleasant young lady at the antique wooden reception desk, and despite the early hour, our rooms were ready. We noticed the gleaming marble staircase, the comfortable waiting area, & impressive breakfast spread, as we were escorted to the old-fashioned, 2 person elevators. Here too, they got wind of my birthday and presented me with a fruit basket as we admired our quaint rooms with a view of the Mosque.
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