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August 1, 2006 – A journey to Istanbul, Turkey in Middle East

Istanbul, Constantinople

The next morning, started off on a full day of exploring Istanbul. The city surrounds what looks like two bodies of water – the Sea of Marmara and the Bosphorous Strait. Many sections of the town happened to be bohemian-ly artsy and European-influenced with cobble-stoned streets, lined by many boutique shops and hotels. Quite a few large ornate mosques dot the city as well (hard to tell which ones are the main ones - all of them look like they’re gorgeously trying to outdo each other).

Some photos from the morning…

partial view of Istanbul

detailed arches in the inner courtyard of the Blue Mosque

colorful trinkets

top of Aya Sofya, a very old Byzantine church converted into a mosque later

inside the Grand Bazaar (a bit disappointed, as I thought it was an "old" bazaar – it's similar to a fancy indoor mall)

one of the many dolmer kebap stands

what dolmer kebaps look like (tastier than the kebab sandwiches tried in previous Middle Eastern countries – I think Turks use some different spices??)

of course, fresh crispy baklava for dessert

After a good nap, took the tram across the bridge to the other side of Istanbul, considered as the modern portion. Some photos from the afternoon…

a snapshot of Dolmabahce Palace

fish market

cafes and restaurants lined under the bridge

bus station, houses, mosques, and buildings on a hill by the bay

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