Friday, May 6, 2011

Day 3 - Touring Istanbul

When we travel, we love hotels that include a breakfast buffet, and you can't beat the Euro breakfast buffet, mainly because it's so different that what you'd get in the States. No pancakes or waffles, but lots of cold cuts, cheese, olives, and olive oil, and plenty of of killer bread. They have some egg type dishes like quiche, and then lots of fresh fruit. And of course, let's not forget about strong black coffee. In the interest of maintaining a proper body weight and saving some dough, I've developed a pattern of eating a hearty breakfast and then an early supper. That pretty much gets me through the day.

What's crazy about it is that we've been very active, as well. We swim twice a day, and have been walking throughout the city. Speaking of walking throughout the city, we went to see some of the big landmarks in Istanbul, namely the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. They're both incredibly impressive structures and have a lot of historical significance. We even went into the mosque for afternoon prayers. Because Turkey is a predominantly Muslim country, they adhere to Muslim traditions, which means praying multiple times a day. They have loudspeakers that call the people to the mosque, and it's enchanting if not a bit eery. The women have to wear scarves over their heads, and everyone takes off their shoes.

There is also a road race that is going through town, some sort of rally that is like a poor man's version for Paris to Dakar rally. The guys are like weekend warriors who souped up their family Volvos and are heading out to the desert. You be the judge. The race goes from Germany to Jordan, and it's a pretty big deal. The party was rocking, with music and all sorts of festivities.

After a long day of touring the town, we ended up back at the hotel for tea time, then into the pool for a couple of hours of swimming. Afterward, we showered and had supper in the hotel, which was really nice. Tour books recommend not eating only kabob, and the regional cuisine is delicious if you want to get a little daring. I will say this, it's not even close to being as scary as what you get in Asian countries, though sheep entrails seems to be on every menu.

Then it was time to hit the hay. We're still adjusting to the time, and it may be a few days before we get used to Euro time.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

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