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ksb1960 Istanbul - A travel report by Kelley
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Istanbul,  Turkey - flag Turkey -  Istanbul
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ksb1960's travel reports

Istanbul.......my first international vacation

  11 votes
Istanbul At A Glance.....What a wonderful place to go for my first vacation outside the United States. It was an experience that I will cherish always. I made friends over there that I have maintained a friendship with since being back home.


View from our balcony.
View from our balcony.
this was my first time to travel outside the United States....and what a vacation it was.















I stayed for 11 days in Istanbul and really traveled the city......it was a wonderful experience.















My first day was spent at the Grand and Spice Bazaars looking for things to purchase. They had the most wonderful pottery and tea sets; very intricate in their designs. Also available which I did not purchase was the rugs.....I understand that Istanbul is known for their rugs.....but it wasn't within my budget so I passed on this.















I visited Topaki Palace which and some wonderful Ming China and a diamond which was 80+ carats in weight. But the item that absolutely amazed me was this glass case that was so unassuming....until you looked at the titles of the articles. A staff that was made of wood was titled "Moses Staff" and a turbin made of very delicate white cotton materials was titled "Joseph's turbin".....needless to say I was speechless. You couldn't take pictures.....so I stood there forever trying to make sure I would always remember what it felt like to gaze at these two items.















I visited the Blue Mosque and several other operating masques which were amazing. During my boat tour down the Bospherous (sp?) I was absolutely amazed at how the homes were built. Again my first trip out of the US and I live in Texas and a rural community.....so the fact that people didn't live on ACRES and have cows and or chickens in their back yard absolutely amazed me :) The Buildings were straight up and down and there were hills everywhere......and the DRIVERS....Oh MY GAWD!!! Again, it was an amazing experience for me.......I even took a picture of Turkish Viagra :) Faruk, the driver, was so embarrassed. He just kept saying "Ban Kelley, Bad!" :)

Favourite spots:
With Friends at the Grand Bazaar
With Friends at the Grand Bazaar
Besides the typical tourist attractions of the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Bazaar (which I wish I would have brought home all kinds of those spices!!!!) I loved the Chora Museum the most.



At first I found it rather intimidating walking past all of the vendors in the different shopping bazaars all wanting my attention; and I found out that I wasn't very good at bartering for prices....I had a tendency to offend without meaning to at all. My friend who was my host while I stayed there introduced me to this wonderful jewelry shop where I bought my daughter some things.



She has been asked by several jewelry shop owners here in the states where she got her ring. They are quite impressed with the workmanship and the design and said that it was quite valuable......and I spent very little on it. The people whom I encountered during my visit were wonderful.

What's really great:
Chora Museum
Chora Museum
Chora Museum......it is hidden away from the primary places but it is absolutely breathtaking.



When I got back home and I was telling my son (who is 21) all the history that I saw he reminded me that there is nothing in the US that is more than 100 years old. I was amazed by what I saw.



When I walked through the door of the Chora Museum I was completely awestruck. It is a very small museum with mosaic art throughout depicting the life of Jesus and Mary and Joseph. I cannot describe to you how moving the art was......everyone that was there wasn't speaking....they were just walking from one murial to another looking and reading. At one point I was so taken away by what I was seeing I become so emotional....and later when I was speaking with my hostess she also said that she had felt that same emotion......it was almost like you could actually feel God's presence when you stepped through the door.

Sights:
Spice Bazaar
Spice Bazaar
I would really get to know the city through research prior to visiting. There is so much to see that you want to see as much as possible. I loved Topaki Palace, the Chora Museum and various other sites in the city.



Buy lots of spices at the Spice Bazaar!!!!!



The one day that I seriously did a "tourist" thing was when I took a bus tour of the different sites within the city. We were gone all day long and it was great. I didn't realize that part of Turkey is also on the Asian border......cool!!! Everyone on the tour ride was very nice and very courteous.



However, I have to admit that the fish soup at lunch wasn't exactly my cup of tea; however, when we happened on this little cafe that had a menu in English and offered a COKE with ICE with Tiramisu I was in heaven :)

Accommodations:
Our Driver...Faruk
Our Driver...Faruk
I stayed with friends while I was there so I wouldn't know about the hotels.



I cannot tell you enough how nice the people were to us. We were very lucky in that we had a driver for our visit, Faruk. Since that vacation Faruk's family and mine have exchanged Christmas presents and pictures of his children and my grandchildren. He was a wonderful person with a wonderful heart.



Besides treating us with the utmost respect he could also break down and have some fun :) As I stated before he kept telling me how "bad" I was......I don't think he was used to a woman from the US's sense of humor sometimes :) However, Faruk definately got us back one night when it was raining and he was driving when suddenly he came up over this hill that was NEVER ending and then began the descent VERY quickly :) I thought my friend was going to shimmy right over the back of the front seat and end up in my lap in the back seat.

Nightlife:
Typical homes
Typical homes
My girlfriend and I didn't go out in the evening to any type of clubs. Our hosts didn't really get into that kind of thing and we weren't brave enough to go out by ourselves.



...and honestly we stayed so busy during the day seeing all of the sights that we were exhausted by evening. We visited during Thanksgiving and we had weather anywhere from just wearing t-shirts to it snowing.

Hangouts:
"Beer City"
I took this picture for my boyfriend who likes his beer :)

Restaurants:
Istanbul travelogue picture
I didn't find any food that was not delicious!!!! You will have a difficult time finding fried anything.......and guess what!!!! McDonalds delivers for those people who just can't live without a meal that has 60+ grams of fat in one sitting :)

Other recommendations:
The Blue Masque
The Blue Masque
The Blue Mosque was filled with wonderous sites. Alot more of the mosaic art that had been saved through hundreds of years.

Published on Tuesday February 19th, 2008


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Mon, Jan 17 2011 - 02:54 PM rating by siffer

istanbul is indeed an amazing city, we visited many of the sites which you also went to. so glad you made it to somewhat inconvenient st savior in chora - it was the linchpin of our trip and we spent over an hour in there appreciating the amazing artistic depiction of history and religion/mythology.

Wed, Feb 20 2008 - 09:29 PM rating by madness

I m glad to read a nice report about Istanbul, you re right about our delicious food and warm people, as previous commentatories, it will be nice to have a more information and your opinions. I also 'd like to write report about Istanbul as an insider.

Wed, Feb 20 2008 - 12:09 AM rating by rangutan

Great as a first report, hope the structure or blank spaces can be fixed.

Tue, Feb 19 2008 - 03:49 PM rating by krisek

Kelley, welcome to GLOBO! Please, please add some more information. I have not been to Istanbul, and I would love to know what you did for 11 days, apart from buying spices :) How did you find the people, what did you do for the good part of the day whilst you were there?

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