Our tour began in Istanbul.
There is nothing like that feeling of walking off of a airplane and into a foreign country. I'm usually exhausted, and excited, and feel very much out of place, nothing is familiar, everything looks and smells different. The first thing that I noticed was the mosques. The entire horizon seemed to be made up of pointy towers. Then, it was the people, everywhere! Istanbul is one of the largest cities in the world right now, at least, population-wise. I was surprised at how exciting the city was and how much I enjoyed our time there.
Street food, the call to prayer blasting from the mosques several times a day, the markets, there was so much to see. We had a great time catching up with friends, bartering with the locals (not my gift, I leave that to my other family members) and searching the city for a decent cup of coffee.
Every other store seemed to sell these lanterns. So many vibrant colors and always hung in clusters. I couldn't get enough of them! I wanted to hang them in every room.
Istanbul has quite the market for counterfeit fashion. Part of me was appalled, the other part of me really wanted a fake Louis Vuitton Carryall. Faux Burberry scarves were another hot item, if only I'd been thinking ahead, my Christmas shopping would be done for the year.
The Blue Mosque.
A wonderful cappuccino topped with the best foam I've ever tasted. The best coffee in town just happened to be a cafe that was attached to our hotel.