Turkey–so polite!

“But, of course…”
I have never felt more welcome in a foreign country than I did in Turkey.  We were looked after, catered to and most questions were answered with, “but of course”.
With Mosques on almost every corner, this exotic city boasts 14.2 million people within city limits –and I swear they must all use the tram, which I call, “the crush of humanity”!
Spanning Europe and Asia Minor,  it is quite a amalgamation of cultures.  Dressed in traditional style, this woman sews amazing creations.
The city seems wedding crazy–with shops all over the city.
The Valens Aquaduct was completed by the Romans late in the 4th Century, and stretches over 155 miles.  It provided water for a growing population and now serves as a reminder of Turkey’s rich history and the blend of old with new.   
I expected more English signage, but many times we were at the mercy of genteel people, offering to help, whether they spoke our language or not.  Sitting in the courtyard of a local Mosque, a Muslim woman approached me with a shy smile, gesturing for me to follow her.  Finally, I realized that she was offering me an insider’s view.  After covering our heads and removing our shoes, she indicated holy relics, helping me to understand their importance.  Our communication was non-verbal but totally real. As we parted, I felt a lump in my throat and a smile in my heart that I’ll never forget.
Muslim history is young compared to Istanbul’s and the museums are overflowing with ancient evidence, dating as far back as 7000-8000 B.C.  The Archeology Museum was a true find–amazingly affordable and in the off-season of November, we practically had it to ourselves.
The descriptions are well written and chronoiogically in order, rendering a true understanding of how  civilization  unfolded. Did you know that Troy was Constantine’s first choice as the
new Rome in the East?  It didn’t meet the standards of location and resources and so Constantinople (now Istanbul) was designated instead.
The political clime is a concern;  what once was celebrated as a republic could be in danger.   It could hamper good relations internationally, not to mention the citizens’ quality of life.

Not to be missed, is one of the many boat tours at night.

Complete with belly and gypsy dancers, our 4-hour cruise had most of us on our feet, dancing to a fusion of traditional music–gone electric, having the time of our lives!