I never expected that I’d be saying I was headed to Turkey, but that is where our latest adventure is leading us. I’m very excited because this will be my first time abroad.
Europe has been on my list of places to travel to since I was able to keep a travel list. (Which I started as a kid, so, yeah…a while.) I always expected France or England would be where I’d lose my European virginity, or maybe Italy, Germany or Spain, but not Turkey.
However, that’s not how it’s going to work out. Which is fine. In addition to losing my European virginity, I’ll also be losing my Asian virginity. Istanbul, where we start our Turkey trip, is the only metropolis in the world located on two continents: Europe and Asia. We’re actually staying on the Asian side even. However, we’ll definitely be hitting the European side too. Lots on both sides to see.
Speaking of seeing things, here’s just a few of the sights we’re planning on taking in:
- The Blue Mosque: This mosque gets it name from the blue tiles used to decorate it. It’s minarets form a part of the distinctive skyline in the Sultanahmet section of Istanbul. (Our hotel doesn’t have a “Blue Mosque” view, but we’re not far from it, like maybe five or ten minutes walking.)
- Topkapi Palace: Many a sultan has called this palace home. Mehmet the Conqueror started construction on it in 1453. It looks quite amazing and is full of colorful stories about the sultans and the women who lived there with them. Hoping to turn up some ghost stories here. If not, I’m hoping my camera can catch some amazing shots.
- Dolmabahce Palace: Sultan Addul Mecit decided Tokapi wasn’t grand enough for him. He built this palace on the shores of the Bosphorous. It’s supposed to be quite ornate inside. Hopefully we’ll get to find out!
- Florence Nightingale Museum: The museum is housed in the Selimiye Army Barracks, where Florence Nightingale and 38 nursing students worked tirelessly during the Crimean War (1853-1856). Because it is on a military base, though, we need to get special permission to visit it. We might try to do that if we can.
- Grand Bazaar: It’s a shoppers mecca. My husband is trying to figure out how to minimize our time here even before we get there. (Not that I’m really much of a shopper, but he is certainly not a spender, which shopping implies.)
- Pera Palas Hotel: Many a famous person has called this hotel home while in Istanbul, including Ernest Hemingway and Greta Garbo. I’m curious to see it because they say this hotel “holds the secret to the mystery of the 11 days missing in the life of world famous thriller writer Agatha Christie.” They say it’s where she got her inspiration for Murder on the Orient Express, and in room 411, which is now the Agatha Christie room, is where she wrote it. I’d just like to say I jaunted where Agatha Christie had once roamed! (As well as these prestigious others: Alfred Hitchcock, Queen Elizabeth II, Emperor Franz Joseph, and Jacqueline Kennedy Onasis. I get chills even thinking about being someplace where these sorts of people once visited.)
- Bosphorus Cruise: The Bosphorus divides Asia from Europe. They offer day and evening cruises along it. From all the reviews I’ve read, it comes highly recommended as an awesome way to take in the sights of Istanbul.
Istanbul might take up all of our sightseeing time while in Turkey. However, if we get the chance we’d also like to take a couple of excursions to other nearby places in Turkey, including:
- Ephesus and Pamukkale: Ephesus was an ancient Greek city and a major Roman one. It’s just ruins now, but popular ones for tourists to see. We’d get a taste of Greece while in Turkey! Pamukkale means “cotton candy” in Turkish and looks amazing! The hot springs have flowed over the travertines to create snowy white pools to soak in. Sounds relaxing and a prime place for me to play with my PlaySport some more!
- Gallipoli and Troy: I want to see Gallipoli because I have never been to a World War I battlefield before. The campaign in the Dardanelles is such a tragic story in that war’s history. It would be quite the honor to visit it. And Troy…The Odyssey is one of my favorite works of literature. To visit the actual Troy? I’d pinch myself the entire time! Also, if I was going to find ghosts in Turkey, these would both be great areas.
Speaking of ghosts…the other parts of Europe, like England and Ireland, that I thought would be the first places I’d visit in Europe have all been well documented from a paranormal perspective. I’ll be treading on paranormal virgin territory in Turkey. There is an absolute slew of history there, but paranormal tourism isn’t exactly thriving. It’ll be both fun and challenging to see what kind of stories I dig up.
I love the song in this video, particularly the lyrics “Istanbul was Constantinople, now it’s Istanbul not Constantinople…” Paired with Tiny Toones…it was just too cute not to share.
The photo came from Art Explosion 500,000.