Following Valkyrie as she sails about on the big blue...


We visited Istanbul in December 2001and experienced COLD weather along with freezing rain. Given the state of the weather, we weren't really inspired to shoot a lot of photos and we forgot our camera in Marmaris, so we made due with a disposable. So, while our photos don't being to capture this fantastic city, you'll need to take our word for it. It's one of our favourite cities we've been to. It's where the west and east merge, so you witness western, Ottoman and Arabic influences come together.

Architecture is amazing. Relics from the Ottoman era showcase the spendor. Carpet salesman on every corner are a constant reminder that you are in Turkey and really need some carpets to take home. There's also a Grand Bazaar, a medieval shopping mall, that covers 65 streets and has 4,400 shops. Turkey is an extremely affordable place to visit. For the Turk's sake, hopefully their economy will stabilize, but in the meantime, for travelers with American dollars to spend, they go a long way.

The Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey
Blue Mosque -- built 1000 years after Aya Sofya. We visited during Ramadan, so it was a packed house.

The Aya Sofya in Istanbul, Turkey
Aya Sofya -- construction started in 532 AD. For 1000 years, it was the largest Christian church in the world before St. Peter's took that honor. But 100 years before St. Peter's was built, it became a mosque.

Topkapi Palace Courtyard
A Courtyard in Topkapi Palace -- the palace was the home of the Ottoman sultans from 1462 to the 19th century.

Medusa pillar as seen in
Medusa Pillar in the Cystern as seen in "From Russia with Love." While we didn't run into James floating through the underground waterways, it was fun to see none the less.
Tiling in the harem at Topkapi Palace, Istanbul
Tiling work in the Topkapi Palace Harem

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