Subject: Re: Istanbul
Hi Penny,

Karen and I spent several days in Istanbul as part of a 17- day vacation to Turkey in June 2002. Our favorite things to see there were Topkapi palace, Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. We made the effort to go out of the central area to visit the Chora Church - an amazing collection of mosaics. There are similar mosaics (but not near as many) upstairs in Hagia Sophia.

It was really hot in June, and I am a hot person, so I especially enjoyed a visit to the Basilica Cisterns, the ancient underground water supply for Istanbul. Another relief for the heat was a trip across the Bosporus on one of the ferries. The Turkish people use these as commuter vessels and they were always crowded, but lots of fun. Try to get a seat outdoors, the air is better, and you get a fantastic sea breeze.

Another favorite location in Turkey was Cappadocia, a place with a landscape and geography like no other on this planet. We hired a guide to take us on cave walks and that was a good decision. We stayed in a cave hotel, an interesting experience.

We spent several days in Selcuk, next to Ephesus, and used it as a base for day trips to several different ancient archeological sites. Ephesus is the biggest and best, but all of them were fascinating. We hired local guides to show us around and tell us what we were looking at.

We spent one day in Bursa, and I wish we'd planned more time there. It is the silk capital, and has a fine market for silk and many other nice things.

Everywhere you go in Turkey, they will try to sell you a carpet. Or kilim. Or one of the many other variations on that theme. The bigger the city, the more agressive the salesman. Some of the salesmen were pretty nice, and we enjoyed talking to them. Others are worse than mosquitos in Alaska.

If you're interested in seeing our photos and reading our stories, see our website below.

Enjoy your trip!

Dave & Karen Votaw Salem, Oregon