Istanbul, Turkey

In June, 2010 I spent a few days touring Istanbul.  This was my first time in Turkey and the prospect of exploring the world’s fifth largest city in just a few days was overwhelming.  The mix of cultures and architectural styles were equally impressive: European, Asian, Mediterranean, and Islamic heritage all in one place.  Serving as a the capital of the Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman empires, there was no shortage of historical landmarks on my journey around the city.  Highlights included exploring the courtyards of the Topkapi Palace, walking across the Galata Bridge to the Golden Horn, marveling at the grandeur of the domed Hagia Sophia, drinking traditional Turkish tea while sailing under the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge spanning the Bosphorus, counting the minarets of the Blue Mosque, descending into the cool reprieve of the Basilica Cistern, and navigating the crowded Grand Bazaar.  The friendly hostel staff and evening World Cup matches also made the trip memorable.  Although there is much more I have not seen in Istanbul, on my next trip to Turkey I would like to get outside of the city to see the ruins of Troy and Ephesus, soak in the natural hot springs of Pamukkale, or simply lounge anywhere along the Turkish Riviera.

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