When the tour ended in Kusadasi, we flew back to Istanbul and stayed again in Hotel Obelisk for one night. We had about 24 hours in Istanbul before flying home the next day.
We decided to return to the Spice Market that afternoon to find some last minute goodies to bring home. I continued to use it as an opportunity to learn the Turkish language from the locals. Some guys I met decided I ought to learn some Turkish "slang." I wasn't quite confident I should repeat anything they were teaching me!
At breakfast we got to say a final "goodbye" to Bonnie, Becky, Donna, Jan, and Sidar. The ladies had also spent their last night in Turkey at Hotel Obelisk ... and Sidar was starting a new tour with a new group of people.
Later that morning, we boarded our flight home ... very sad to be leaving.
... magnificent in size ...
He first took us to Suleymaniye Camii (the Mosque of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent). The mosque is breathtaking - massive and gorgeous.
This was our first time ever entering a mosque ... so we learned to remove our shoes and cover our heads.
My mom and I arrived in Turkey a day before the tour started. We spent a day exploring Istanbul with Haluk, a charming Turkish man who is a friend of my mom's cousin. I was so flattered by his willingness to spend the day showing us his city ... when he had just met us. He was our first indication of the warmth and hospitality of Turks.
Next we drove across Galata bridge to the north part of Istanbul, Beyoglu, and went to Galata Tower for its views of the city.
After enjoying the views, Haluk took us to lunch at an unassuming little fish restaurant. I don't usually eat much fish, so I was a little tentative in trying it ... but I loved it! We ended our day together back at his office that overlooks the Bosphorus and we had our first taste of Turkish Coffee. I discovered that I like it "cok sekerli" (chok shekerlee) ... with a lot of sugar!