The mighty Bosphorous River winds through
Istanbul (formerly Constantinople) joining Europe with Asia.

Modern tram near our hotel in the Sultanhamet district of Istanbul. Is this nice or what? We spent five days. They have wonderful McDonald's with clean toilets, something most appreciated by all ladies throughout the Middle East.
This beautiful mosaic of Jesus is inside the wondrous St. Sophia Church of Istanbul. The 14th century church is badly in need of repair, but scaffolding indicates on going efforts to maintain it. Many of the elaborate mosaics were in the process of restoration, but this artist, several hundred years ago, showed us Jesus as if we were seeing him in person 2000 years ago.

Plenty of smiling faces in this Pizza Place. The small Turkish style pizza is made with spices, not cheese & sells for about $1 US. One delicious option is rolling them with fresh lettuce & vegies inside.

In central Turkey, near Cappadocia , the terrain if covered with these volcanic rock formations which look like fairy castles. Notice the openings in the rock structures at lower center. About 700 years ago, Christians lived here to avoid persecution. They carved dwellings, churches, and entire cities within the soft stone. One such city we visited was dug seven stories deep, complete with living areas, stairs, ramps, as well as light and air shafts. It's possible that two such cities are connected underground by this incredibly ingenious system. The excavation continues.

We traveled across Turkey on board these luxury Mercedes busses, with satellite TV and food service attendants like airlines. It was so pleasant that we chose to continue from Istanbul to Athens, even though a portion of that route was included in our Eurail passes. While on this leg of the journey, we watched the Turkish soccer team win the European Cup in a shoot out with England. Of course, the entire bus erupted in joyous celebrations. It was quite a cultural experience.
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Fred & Melody Squires
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