These pictures were taken over a 4-day weekend
in Turkey. The big adventure coincided with my birthday, and I will have
to say if you have to get a year older, Istanbul is a great place to do
it. Turkish coffee, Turkish carpets, Turkish tea, Turkish tiles - the
place is a bit like sensory overload. Wandering around the old Istanbul
could take you hours just to go a few blocks. You stop to look at some
weaving, and here you are having tea and chatting away for an hour. Amazingly,
they actually like Americans. Everywhere we went when people heard us
talking, they would stop and talk to practice their English. The hospitality
& openness of the country was a wonderful break from Eastern Europe's
Wandering through some of the back streets
of the massive Grand Bazaar of Istanbul
This is also inside the Bazaar, the older
section that dates back to the 1500's -- Turkish flag in front.
One of the many instances where they heard us speaking &
called over to us. Most of the conversations consisted of: "Hello"
"How are you?"
"Where are you from?"
"We love America!"
These ladies loved Laurie with
her blond hair and freckles. They took about a dozen pictures
Looking into Asia from Europe. Istanbul bridges
the two continents together, half of it lying on the European
continent, the other in Asia.*
Woman and son looking out at the Bosphorus
sea just before sunset.
Admittedly, one of the things I like doing
least in life is shopping. However, wandering through the markets
of Istanbul was great. You get offered tea, complimented effusively,
and it becomes a charming social experience.
Here is Laurie in some of cool afternoon lighting
of the old market. The guy walking by with the tray is one of
the many tea-delivery guys.
Some of the shoes found at the market
A carpet loom and the beginnings of two carpets.
Before I left I told quite a few people, "Buy a carpet in
Turkey? Naahh. Why?" Guess what I came back with?
Here is a close up showing the knotting used
in making carpets. Usually they are woven in smaller blocks and
put together, so the handmade ones often have little seams that
don't quite match up.
Here is a couple shopping at the market. Many
men wore those little beanie things on their head.
Here are some ladies outside of one of the
many mosques in town.
This was taken at the Egyptian Spice market
. Nougat-like stuff at the spice market. This stuff was all over
Here is the outside of the Grand
Bazaar. Note the old stone building behind the awnings & shops.
The color on this one is awful, but I'm including
it anyway just because it shows some the ceramics that Turkey
is famous for. Pictured are Laurie (left) and Sara (right).
This was the night
of my 37th birthday. Note that big bread in front of us. Also,
even though Turkey is a Muslim country, beer & wine can be
found in most restaurants.
After the celebratory dinner, we went to the rooftop terrace
of our hotel. This was just part of the view. You could also see
the Blue Mosque (above, 1st pict) and the skyline of Asia, but
that picture didn't turn out quite as well.
After the rooftop toast to the evening,
we stopped in at a tea house/hookah pipe place/backgammon stop that
was open late.
Being the amateur hookah smokers that we were, we needed a few
lessons from the very friendly wait staff.
Here is Laurie, Kayla & Sarah with their apple
tea, watching the smoking lesson, and having a good time.
This is a picture of the cafe during the day with a few locals
who knew what they were doing.
This is the underground cistern
built by the Romans hundreds of years ago. How did those people
do it? There are 336 columns down there.