Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Easter Cruise: Istanbul and Dubrovnik

  As long as I have been in Spain, I have been wanting to go to Istanbul. Much further east than most of the places I have traveled to, it always held some sort of mysterious feel to it. We went in a tour group from the cruise with a native guide. Thank goodness because I can't imagine if we had just tried to bumble around on our own (although we are quite capable explorers). The city is way larger, way busier than we could have handled. Even though real tourism season hadn't yet begun, the Istanbul was covered with tourists. Standing in mile-long lines, we hit the highlights of the Topkapı Palace, the Blue Mosque, and the Hagia Sofia. After a required short stop in a rug store (which were actually incredible), we haggled our way through the Grand Bazaar, walking out with way too many ceramic plates. We got a little carried away, but when I'm happily dipping my chips and dip during football season in my colorful ceramic bowls, I will think of this place. 

Inside the Blue Mosque
Outside the Mosque
Blue Mosque

Hagia Sofia

Inside the Hagia Sofia- built in the 500s!!!

Grand Bazaar

View of Istanbul from our (lucked-in) room balcony
   The most surprising stop of all the trip belongs to Dubrovnik. This city was incredibly beautiful. The historic part is small, but you can walk along the city walls and see amazing views of the coast and the red tile roofs of the town. Walking along the walls, I could not stop taking pictures. I would highly recommend this place to someone looking for a European trip a little off the beaten path. It's worth the visit.
Welcome to historic Dubrovnik!

Walking along the walls

Don't you want to be here??

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