My first day here was spent on a tour of the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Suleimaniye Mosque and Topkapi Palace in European Istanbul. The tour guide, who picked up at the Polat, was wonderful and spoke perfect English. Because most Turks are on holiday or pilgrimage this week the city was MUCH less crowded than normal, except for Topkapi.
I'm enclosing pictures from the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Suleimaniye Mosque. Yesterday I had a truly awesome plane tour trip to Ephesus and will send photos later.
The people have been wonderful, incredibly hospitable wherever I've been.
I've been home now for a few days, but picked out a few more photos from Istanbul for those interested. They include the Exterior and one interior photo of Hagia Sophia, an exterior photo of the Blue Mosque and what remains of the Hippodrome, the only remains of which are the Serpent Column (5th C BC) in the foreground and the obelisk of Thutmose III, which is about 3500 years old.
And a final few photos -- the first three are of Topkapi Palace, from the see, doors to one of the sections, and the door to the Relics Room. The final picture is of the Nuruosmaniye Mosque that has the ferries to Asia on one side and the bazaar on the other.