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Lauren & Georgia’s Travel Diary

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Location: Europe

MapDay 5: Istanbul, Turkey – Wow, this place is awesome. It was a bit chilly this morning when we got off the ship, however it turned out to be a lovely day. We decided to do our own walking tour of the city rather than a shore excursion through the cruise company. First stop was the Spice Markets. We only roamed through a few streets as a lot of the produce was the same, although there were plenty of other items for sale than just spices.

Second stop was the Blue Mosque. It took us about an hour of walking the streets of Istanbul until we finally found it. The Mosque was very big and beautiful but unfortunately packed with tours so it was difficult to explore and appreciate its true beauty.

Next stop was Sophia Museum (I think). This place was a bit of a letdown. It was another beautiful mosque however they charge 10 euro entry. Let me put that into perspective - this is what you are charged to visit the Louvre!

By this stage we had done a lot of walking and were growing tired of seeing historical sites. We did walk to the Palace however we decided not to go in as we were ready to hit the shops of Grand Bazaar. We stopped in at a small restaurant for lunch and ate some fascinating Turkish food.

Grand Bazaar is home to 4,200 stalls! It was incredible. You could buy so many different things from handbags, scarfs, jewellery, etc. We spent several hours here but we could have easily spent days if we had the luggage allowance! All the men that work at the stalls are lovely and like to have a chat, plus they weren’t pushy like most other markets I have been to around the world!

We are now back on the boat and I am about to head off for my massage – 60% off treatments today plus I have been making a small fortune from Roulette each night! It was a great day enjoyed by all and I can definitely say I will be back to Turkey.

Lauren x