If in February 2012 you would had asked me if I would ever visit Turkey, I probably would have said, “I don’t think so… maybe?” I also would most likely not have been able to point to it on a map! I certainly wouldn’t have believed you if you told me that I would visit Turkey three times in the coming year, but I have. I just made my third trip to Turkey in 7 months, this time to Istanbul. How on Earth did this happen?! I blame it on my friends : )
It all started last July when my friend, Katie, planned a last-minute trip to get away from England, to find a place with sun & heat & a reasonably-priced 5-star resort. All she needed was a travel partner ready to relax & bask in the sun, and you bet I was the girl for the job! Thomas Cook took us to the Melas Resort in Side where it was a beautifully scorching 95°. It was so hot that we couldn’t even stay down on the Mediterranean beach very long. We quickly learned why everyone fought over the poolside chairs (literally! – another story for another time). The pool was about 5 stories up from the beach, so you could feel the breeze and not completely melt. It was glorious! We feasted and baked and had the best shower ever! We did wrassle up the energy to walk into town one day to buy jewelry & spices & apple tea & knock-offs & ceramics & turkish delight – this will be a theme, shopping : ) So, trip one: sun & shopping!
Next, Katie, Suzi, Laura, & I took a ladies’ cruise in the Mediterranean that had stops in Italy, Greece, & what do you know, Turkey! We made port in Kusadasi in West Turkey on the Aegean Sea. Just outside of Kusadasi is the location of Ancient Ephesus. Our day’s stop was spent on an excursion to the house of Mary, mother of Jesus, the archaeology museum, and walking the ancient pathways of Ephesus, a place rich with history. Before we got back on our ship, we meandered through the port-side market buying up cheap scarves & quality leather knock-offs. We even got a “carpet show!” So if you are keeping up, Turkey = sun & shopping, history & shopping, shopping for spices & tea & scarves & leather & knock-offs & ceramics & carpets & turkish delight : )
And now, the weekend before last, Suzi, Katie, Bethany, & I travelled to Istanbul to celebrate Suzi’s 30th Birthday. You may be realizing a couple of things at this point: 1) our husbands never get to come with us, 2) Katie & I are the common denominators here. My only response is that our husbands work too much and just call us Esme & Smesme – those are our Turkey names! Anyway, we spent an awesome weekend hitting up the hamam, seeing the top sites in old town, eating great food, and you guessed it, shopping! I haven’t mentioned the food yet, but it has always been good. In Istanbul, it was great! Moussaka has convinced me that I’m a fan of eggplant – I love that stuff. We stayed right in the middle of old town, just minutes from the Blue Mosque & Hagia Sophia, and again, we had fantastic showers! We hit up the Grand Bazaar & the Spice Market for teas & saffron & mixes & delight & scarves & ceramics & rugs & lanterns & even some raki. We marveled at the beauty of Ottoman architecture & decorating. It was a fantastic weekend; there was so much to do we didn’t even make it into new town across the Golden Horn or the Asiatic side across the Bosphorus Straight but stayed in old town on the Sea of Marmara.
In conclusion, Turkey – sun, history, shopping, showers, food, buildings, beauty, baths, spices, apple tea, & more shopping. I would definitely recommend it!