Friday, October 31, 2014


REPUBLIC DAY - October 29th
(Cumhuriyet Bayrami)

like the US, Turkey displays their national flag on REPUBLIC DAY!

even restaurants displayed large flags.
JPE & I had one of our "tastiest meals" while visiting Istanbul.

line up of students participating in a Republic Day parade.

flag displayed on a historical building.

Istiklal  Caddesi means "Independence Street"
(New District - modern section of Istanbul)

street sign

the rest stop on the way to Ankara

Turkish people are very patriotic!
our group celebrating at Taksim Square

Thursday, October 30, 2014



RAFET's has driven the bus for our guide... 100+ times.
He's beginning to learn English... because his son lives in the US &
he wants to be able to talk to his granddaughters.

RAFET & MERT (our guide)
I'll share more about Mert in another post.

Our bus is a typical touring bus (no bathrooms);
but Turkish requires bus drivers have a break after 2.5 hours of driving.
RAFET can turn our bus on hairpin turns...
negotiate crowded streets...
weasel his way into the lane he wants...
(respectfully, of course, because that's the sort of guy he is)
drive next to cars & buses with two inches between the vehicles...
& find parking spots that allow us to find the bus easily (not easy in small, small towns).

a humble, soft-spoken man... what's not to love 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


view from the breakfast room - AZADE HOTEL, Istanbul

why are all these boats in one area?
the fisherman are ALL fishing for bonita...
seems like it could be pretty competitive with everyone trying to catch the same fish??

tossing his line out!
The once abundant native fish are becoming scare (due to large fishing boats);
so fisherman have been known to become territorial about their fishing spots...
yelling at others who scare their fish away (or are trying to fish in the same area).

the Fish Market is still alive in the evening!
Do you suppose the fish go on sale as the evening gets later?

along the waterfront are boats that cook the day's catch &
sell it wrapped in a pita-type bread!

assembly-line for the dockside fish!
a typical fast food meal!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


located two blocks from our Istanbul hotel

Visiting MOSQUES & learning about Islam was a key factor in taking this Rick Steve's Tour!

Our tour guide, Mert, (raised by his parents in the Muslim & Jewish faith) has been sharing the similarities & differences between the religions of the world! It's been truly enlightening... 
Mert completed his graduate degree (Bible Studies) in Dublin, Ireland, so we couldn't have asked for a more knowledgeable tour guide...

(the name means "divine wisdom")
faces the Blue Mosque

 Muslims pray five times a day. Speakers located on the minarets (tall, slender columns) announce the call to prayer... with the exact times of prayer changing every day, depending on the position of the sun. 

a mosque can be an elaborate design or something very simple. 
Simply stated, a mosque is a place of worship!!

Mosque of Suleyman
overlooks the city & dominates the skyline during the day & night...

the beauty of the mosque(s) takes your breath away!
& the 'call to prayer' is a constant reminder that 98% of Turkish people are Muslims.

Also, to confirm a statement from SLE, there APPEARS to be a mosque in every neighborhood.

Monday, October 27, 2014


simply beautiful... smells incredible...
SPICE MARKET exploring!

saffron is NOT yellow, but BRILLIANT red!

dissolved in water - saffron turns yellow!

Turks love their tea!
delicious apple tea for a drizzly, damp day of sightseeing!

open bins of tea!

Rick Steve's recommends you purchase fresh spices, teas, nuts and fruits
BUT have them vacuum packed
so you don't run the risk of
losing your purchases when you reenter the US

purchased soup spice for our winter soups

your MUST include a visit to the Spice Market
(if you get to Istanbul)

see you tomorrow!

Sunday, October 26, 2014


In Taksim Square is a monument dedicated to Ataturk - the Turkish president (often referred to as the George Washington of the Turks)...

the view down Istiklal Street (New District)

men - traveling in groups!
women - with their husbands

 a little hookah & backgammon?

making a living... (wanna buy a bubble maker?)

selling lottery tickets...

how could you not leave a tip for this sweet musician?

more to follow!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

BUNU (means THIS ONE)!!!

we woke up at 4am & couldn't go back to sleep!

Stick close!
we'll never be able to find each other if we get separated!

doesn't every tourist spot have t-shirts for sale?
cars, buses & trams WILL NOT stop for pedestrians!
so, you can imagine taxi rides can be hilarious!
Actually, our taxi driver from the airport to our hotel was
a sweet little Turk w/a gentle soul
(& spoke just enough English to point out some sights)

wanna buy some dried eggplant?

yep! next to the delicious pomegranate tea is something for the GUYS!

a quick turn down this street!

in the market for a LAMP?

a pretty little shop!
purchased a "kese" (washcloth) for each of us to take to the Turkish Bathhouse!

Halloween costume?

for me? ummm... perhaps 40 years ago I might have tried this on?

wandered back to the center!

NOW, this is more interesting! a fabric store...

and dozens of stalls selling buttons!
how do these men stay in business? they all sell the same stuff...
 (only men work in the bazaar) 

when Steph & Allie were young, I sewed a cute, little dress that had similar purple buttons...

shopping was exhausting! we headed outside...
of course, JPE found the book stalls!

for Lydia, Derek, Katie & Matthew...
Diary of a Wimpy Kid...
in Turkish!

exited the Grand Bazaar...
for tea & a spinach-filled phyllo dough "goodie"

AHHHH! the adventure(s) of shopping mall!

my FIT-BIT recorded 15,191 steps today!


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