A Travellerspoint blog

Back in Jerusalem

5UploadedFile3.jpg 4UploadedFile4.jpg Yesterday we returned to Jerusalem and settled in at St. George's College. (The photo is from the balcony of our building looking out at St. George's Cathedral.) This morning (Tuesday) we walked the half-mile or so to the Damascus Gate of Jerusalem and then walked past hundreds of little shops to the Western Wall, where we saw the delightful group of young boys in the photo. Our course begins this evening with the opening Eucharist at 6 PM.

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Our last day in Istanbul

22UploadedFile0.jpg 15UploadedFile1.jpg 8UploadedFile2.jpg We didn't try to find a Lutheran church for worship today - unlikely in a 99% Muslim nation. But we did visit a fascinating place called "Miniaturk", a huge outdoor display of miniatures (1:25) of many of the significant buildings in Turkey, many of which we had seen in our travels (photos). After a final walk through the historic area, park and riverfront, we (Jeanette) packed and are ready for our last dinner in our restaurant! One of the things that has impressed us is all of the beautiful floral displays that have "popped up" during our five days here (photo). Tomorrow we fly back to TelAviv and go to Jerusalem and St. George's College.

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A national holiday in Turkey

21UploadedFile0.jpg 14UploadedFile1.jpg Today was a national holiday in Turkey - "Youth and Sports Day." This morning we took the "Ho-Ho" (hop on-hop off) bus, and I think we saw half of the city's 13.5 million people (photo). I don't think I've ever seen so many people, all over the place. We visited the Beylerbeyi Palace, the sultan's summer cottage in the late nineteenth century (photo). We couldn't take pictures inside, but it was quite amazing. This afternoon we lounged a bit, then took a walk on the riverfront and had dinner at our fav restaurant.

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No tours, no buses, no guides!

2UploadedFile5.jpg 1UploadedFile6.jpg 1UploadedFile7.jpg Friday was a leisurely day of sight-seeing (we even slept in late, after our long day yesterday). We walked to the Spice Bazaar (photo) and then to a wonderful museum of archeology, which houses an amazing collection of artifacts from as early as the fifth and sixth centuries BC (photo). Then we went back to our hotel and relaxed for a while, walked to dinner and returned to the hotel. Oh, by the way, guess who delivers!!

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The Other Tour

7UploadedFile2.jpg 4UploadedFile3.jpg 3UploadedFile4.jpg Thursday was our day for "The Other Tour", which was outstanding. Rather than seeing the tourist spots, the purpose of this tour was to show us what Istanbul is really like. We rode through one of the very expensive neighborhoods of the city, took a boat across the Bosphorus River to the Asian side (yes, Istanbul is the only city that is in two continents - Europe and Asia) where they make "the best yogurt in the world" (it could well have been), we walked through a couple of the poorest neighborhoods of Istanbul (photo), visited a school (first grade class with one teacher and 55 kids) (photo), had a wonderful lunch at the guide's mother's house, experienced a Turkish Bath in a bathhouse from the fifteenth century, walked through the busiest area of Istanbul at supper time (outdoes Times Square by a long shot in number of people on the streets and the openair restaurants), and ended the day with a traditional Turkish dinner in a restaurant with traditional Turkish music as live entertainment. We were gone from 9 AM to 11:15 PM, but it was a wonderful touch of what life in Istanbul is really like. There were 14 interesting people on the tour, and our guide was a young (somewhat over-confident) 23-year old who came up with this idea and runs it with the help of family and friends.

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