This is our last morning in Istanbul and it’s been an amazing and enlightening trip. I had no idea that Turkish history was so, so interesting. Istanbul is modern yet ancient, and completely surprising.
We spent the first two days being led around by our tour guide Levon from Melitours. And we’ve had a driver, which was the best, best decision ever. Istanbul can be a hard city to navigate and the traffic is the worst.
We went shopping at the Spice Market, and bought some Iranian safron, which Levon insists is better than Turkish.
We went to the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia.
We went rug shopping at a private gallery, which was a very unique, once-in-a-lifetime experience involving a whole education in rug making and lots of tea. Yes, we bought one, and no, I don’t want to discuss the price.
We spent a morning on the Asian side and then back to the European side for an afternoon at Topakpi Palace, the home of Turkish Sultans up till the mid-1800s and which contains the “three-spoon diamond,” the second largest diamond in the world.
Unlike the rug, we did not buy the diamond. The guards just wouldn’t haggle.
And we ate. And ate. And ate some more. I am now thoroughly in love with Turkish food.
So we’re heading home with lots of memories and a few souvenirs (and tighter pants). I’ll get into more detail in the days ahead.