ups and downs

Finally, some sunshine and a great day to hike. I've been hoping to get out all week, and today was finally the day. Bad blisters from the start, but I made it all the way to the top and to my favorite stops along the way.



We're back from 10 days in Istanbul with about 1400 photos and some fun memories... We traveled with our friend, Tulay and her mom, and had the awesome opportunity to meet more of their family and enjoy their incredibly warm hospitality. A great big teşekkürler, with a hand over hearts, to them.

We spent a lot of time near the Bosphorus and crossing between Europe and Asia by bridge or by boat.

 We visited some of the 2000 mosques within the the city.

One of my favorite, and definitely most relaxing, adventures was our trip to the Cagaloğlu Hammam, the oldest and most famous of the traditional Turkish bath houses in Istanbul. Wooden sandles, plaid towels, marble floor to ceiling, hot water, getting washed like a baby, and a great massage. I don't think there is a way to get cleaner or feel more pampered.

A favorite activity: eating.

We did lots of it...simit, potato gözleme, turkish delight, chi, coffee, stuffed grape leaves, grilled vegetables, red pepper sauces, and of course Derek's opportunity to sample manti- a yogurt topped ravioli; tursu suyu- a drink made from cabbage, pickles and garlic; fish and bread sandwich; and İşkembe çorbası- a tradittional Ottoman soup made from goat intestines. I'll stick with the sesame covered simit and handmade gözleme.

We spent some time wandering the busy streets, the crowded bazaars, and found two great contemporary exhibitions- one at the Istanbul Modern- Hussein Chalayan's art and fashion design, and the other, the first annual Istanbul triennial- The Secret Language of the City. Feasts for our eyes besides our stomachs.

We visited Sultan Ahmed Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Dolmabahçe Palace (although we didn't go inside the last two), Topkapi Palace, Galata Tower for a bird's eye view of the city, and the Basilica Cistern beneath- that's where we posed for this fun photo.

That's a tid-bit from out trip. A few more photos here and here if you like.