Wednesday, August 1, 2012

We were so fortunate to not only take this trip (knowing that our wee ones were having a blast at the grandparents), but also that we got to spend the last few days in Istanbul, Turkey. As much as I loved the boat experience, I did not mind the Conrad Hotel (hey, if it is good enough for Obama it is good enough for me:). Istanbul is huge, like 15 million people huge. It has over 2000 mosques and plenty to do. Our visit was during Ramadan so we basically had the city to ourselves during the day.  It was the perfect way to end our trip. After "getting our bearings" we took up the recommendation of the concierge and went down to the bay for kumpir (or a huge LOADED baked potato) and for dessert a homemade waffle with nutella, strawberries, kiwi, pineapple, chocolate chips, and many other delicious was sinfully good.

Hey Yaaaaa

Elif Shafak was once a controversial author and now on a huge billboard in Turkey
Day 2 in Istanbul started with a guided tour of the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, a tour of a "rug cultural center", and then the Grand Bazaar.
Water fountain was a gift from the Germans in 1898

Gettin' clean

Oldest monument in the city...Egyptian Obelisk from  late 4th century

This column is intertwined bronze serpents that was dedicated to Apollo in 479 BC

Ready to head into the Blue Mosque (had to cover, wear a skirt, and take my shoes off)

It was amazing

Checkout the detail


Each circle in the carpet is made for a foot with 4000 people being able to pray at one time

Now off to Hagia Sophia

Check out the Mr. Tourist...I am on bus 21 everyone!

Inside Hagia Sophia

More beauty

Patrick could not remember the name of the I took a picture:)

This is the ladder that was used to clean Hagia thank you!

All rugs in are hand made

Little Turkish coffee before the sales pitch

This took 4.5 years and 150 miles of silk thread was used

This was at the Grand Bazaar (after being cussed out at a booth for being a "cheap American")
Side Note:  We discovered this exercise park outside of our hotel-Ashley this could be us!

After naps and hanging out by the pool we headed to the back to the fun area by the bay for some drinks, dinner, and shopping.

View from the hotel

Day 3 in Istanbul we went to Topkapi Palace Museum.  I must admit it was beautiful, but I was checked out on the lectures at this point.  We roamed the beautiful grounds and got it in before the only rain of the trip.

After the Palace we did the final things on my bucket list for Istanbul, got a Turkish Bath and ate some fish in the Fish Market.  We went to Cagaloglu Hammam ( and it was amazing. This place is over 300 years old!  After the delicious steam a woman scrubbed me down, soaped me up, massaged every inch of my body, rinsed me with the most perfect water, and washed my hair. After feeling relaxed we had a late lunch at one of the many fish restaurants in the fish market which was empty because of Ramadan. Perfect end to the perfect trip.
Hanging out with my buds

Outside the Turkish bath

Fish Retaurant

It was so slow around the markets that this man could not stay awake!

Euro Pat eating fish and feeling relaxed