Having zero expectations of this place, what a surprise of a city. It’s a great mix of old and new together. Its quite modern and ancient at the same time.
It reminds me a lot of Kristen’s show Aida where the royalty here were sultans who wore caftans and baggy pants like the arabian nights. We went to the biggest indoor bazaar in the world, 4000 shops under one roof. Yikes!! The most popular items for tourists are handmade carpets and jewelry which are all absolutely beautiful. This seems like a very wealthy city. Chuck bought me a fabulous authentic Turkish bracelet for 1 euro ($1.36 cents) and says he’s completed his duty of getting me a memorable piece of jewelry from a foreign land.
Its also very wierd to be in a city that has gone thru so much in their history. At one point they were a Christian nation, but eventually became a Moslem nation practicing Islam. It is so strange to go into a mosque and see no graphic images of any kind inside. No Jesus, no saints, no prophets in the stained glass windows. There were images of Jesus and Mary, but they were covered over with plaster when Islam came in, but have since been uncovered once again. Turkey is 99% Islamic, 1% Christian with about 25,000 jews. There are a few women wearing totally black with only their eyes showing which is quite radical in this 90 degree weather, and any more women wearing scarves to cover their heads.
On the cruise side…they never cease to amaze with the food, entertainment, and activities. In the buffet restaurant, each night is a different surprise theme…one day was Greek, yesterday was Mexican, and today was Indonesian. Of course the food is 99% fabulous and impossible to resist.