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Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Sultanahmet November 27th 2014

Blog Entry Two Before we get too far along I want to make it clear that Istanbul is fantastic ... great city ... super clean (more on that later) ... warm and welcoming people ... good food ... everything a traveler could want ... except ... of course ... sunshine. It has been raining and windy since my arrival, which is tremendously disappointing. I had dinner with some German friends who lamented that they were going to have to go home to Munich to warm up (for those who are a bit lax on their German geography, Munich is in the foothills of the Alps, and is not generally considered balmy). Speaking of geography, I am attaching a simple map of the Istanbul in hopes that my descriptions will make more sense ... there will, of ... read more
Streets of Sultanahmet
Sultanahmet In The Rain
Cobblestone Streets

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Sultanahmet November 27th 2014

Blog Entry Three So my hotel in Sultanahmet is right around the corner from the Hippodrome, a huge outdoor space that was used to host chariot races back in the day (much the Circus Maximus in Rome). But unlike the Circus Maximus (which remains a ruin), the Hippodrome has been restored into a public gathering space, anchored at one end by two ancient obelisks ... on Egyptian, one Ottoman. Adjacent to the Hippodrome is the Blue Mosque, the second largest mosque in the world. It is called the Blue Mosque because of the famous mosaics inside the mosque, which are made from largely blue ceramic tile. The mosque boasts six minarets (which are the cylindrical towers located outside mosques ... they are roughly analogous to Christian church steeples). When the Sultan commissioned the Blue Mosque in ... read more
Hippodrome
Obelisks
Obelisks At Night

Middle East » Turkey » Southeastern Anatolia » Diyarbakir November 26th 2014

With a reputation like that Diyarbakır would certainly not seem like an inviting place although I'm almost certain that the slogan was not self-conferred. It's had a bad reputation nation wide going back to the bad old days of the 80s and 90s and many Turks were shocked and chagrined that I ventured there without incident. Contrary to what many will say, it is perfectly fine to visit and definitely not to be missed if traveling in the southeast. After 2 weeks in the southeast and short stops in Antalya and Konya, I'm back in İstanbul for a couple of days, my 5th time here since 2011. Its appeal is timeless and never gets boring even though I don't really do much more than walk around taking in the sights and incredible views. Tomorrow flying to ... read more
Mardin Kapısı, Bastion On the Right
Café On the Bastion
Can Drink Tea Anywhere In Turkey

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Sultanahmet November 24th 2014

All In the last entry for this blog you were given the wrong address for Jeff Femrite's blog for Istanbul. If you are interested it is www.travelblog.org/Bloggers/JJF-In-Istanbul-2014... read more

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Sultanahmet November 24th 2014

Blog Entry One Welcome ... This will be a brief seven (7) day blog documenting my trip to Istanbul during the American Thanksgiving Holiday 2014. As always, I would love for this blog to be interactive, so please comment. That being said ... if you think you have a "turkey in Turkey" joke I have not heard ... trust me ... I have heard it. So the trip over was uneventful. I flew on a recently refurbished United 777 from Chicago to Frankfurt (which compared favorably with the Qatar Airlines 777 I was on about a month ago ... please see www.travelblog.org/Bloggers/Madison-Nepal-Group) and then on a 2.5 hour Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt to Istanbul. As you know ... I am not a guy who likes to stereotype an entire people ... but the Germans have always ... read more

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul November 23rd 2014

Many have used the colloquialism "East meets West" to describe cities like Hong Kong and Taipei as a marriage of the Orient and the Occident, but while it's cliche to portray anything as such, nothing holds truer to that mantra than Istanbul. Nowhere else on the planet can you find geography, politics, religion, and race from both hemispheres mold into an amalgam that is the metropolis present today. The people here don't appear quite Arabic, but they aren't quite European; the cuisine isn't exactly Middle Eastern, but it's not exactly Western; the places of worship aren't fully Islamic in architecture, but neither are they Christian. Confused yet intrigued at the same time, Kristina and I were excited to explore Tripadvisor's top destination for 2014. Formerly known as Constantinople, this city was the capital of four empires--Roman, ... read more
Spice Market
Hagia Sophia
Turkish Lanterns

Middle East » Turkey » Eastern Anatolia » Van November 13th 2014

The one quadrant of Turkey that I had yet to visit during my previous 4 trips was the southeast region wedged in among Iran, Syria and Iraq and way off most travelers' radars. I started in Van in the far flung reaches close to the Iranian border. It's a great town famous for their imposing castle and unique and delicious breakfasts and utterly bereft of Western tourists, or any for that matter, except for a few intrepid French heading to Iran. Definitely felt like winter was approaching out there not only because of the close to freezing nighttime temperatures but also because it was completely dark by about 4 p.m. Turkey only has one time zone so not only was sunset early but so was sunrise and that first call to prayer around 4 a.m. known ... read more
Breakfast At Sütçü Fevzi With Erol
Van Gölü
Hoşap Kalesi

Middle East » Turkey » Aegean November 12th 2014

Where to start, at the beginning is always a good place, don't you think? We didn't really know what to expect in Turkey, our only reason for going there really was that we had seen different photos that various friends had taken over the years, and everyone had told us that it was a place that we really should visit, so off we went. Our flight to Istanbul left from Stansted, and during check in we were asked " do you have your Turkish Visa"? OMG, I thought, my biggest fear was about to come true. We were not going to be allowed to fly. I always hold my breath until we have the boarding passes in our hands at check in, as I have a fear that one day we will we boldly turn up ... read more
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Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Beşiktaş November 2nd 2014

Preface: I've been wanting to go to Turkey for over a year, and I picked this past vacation to do it. My friend Sloan (a new teacher) and I flew to Turkey for 7 days, starting on October 25th. We spent our first few days in Istanbul and then flew to Cappadocia for 2 days. Then we went back to Istanbul for one more day before coming back to Budapest. Sometimes I've done real entries, sometimes I've done lists. I feel like my trip to Turkey can best be summarized in a series of moments. Make sure you look at the pictures at the bottom of the page too. Pretty psyched about them. -First of all, our flight attendant on our plane to Istanbul looked just like a young Vladimir Putin -That time when our plane ... read more
Rainbow stairs!
Spice Bazaar
Blue Mosque

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Sultanahmet November 1st 2014

One of the most striking monument throughout the centuries, Hagia Sophia, still is in must visit list of every traveler. Hagia Sophia constructed in 6th century. It served as an Orthodox cathedral until 1453 and remained greatest place of worship in Christendom for almost a thousand years. After the conquest of Istanbul, with order of Mehmed the Conqueror, it was converted into mosque four minarets were added that changed the silhouette of historic peninsula. Even there are many mosques around, Sultans preferred Hagia Sophia for friday prays for centuries. In 1935, young, new Turkish regime proclaimed Hagia Sophia as museum regarding to its historical, cultural and architectural importance. During its construction, many building materials were carried to Istanbul from ancient areas all over the Byzantine Empire, mai... read more
Hagia Sophia Hall
Hagia Sophia inside
Hagia Sophia mosaic1




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