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    by mkataoka Fodor's Editor | Posted on Nov 28, 16 at 01:31 PM
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Trip Report Our Holy land cruise witha pre stay in Istanbul. Part one.

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OK guys this is part one of my promised review of our above trip We left Chicago on 10/22 on Turkish airlines which has the only NS to IST from Chi. I must say the service was quite good and would not hesitate to use Turkish airlines again. We got into IST on time at around 1740 and we met by a driver from our hotel, the Istanbul Prince. At first we were a bit put off by the area we were driving through to get ot our hotel. It looked sort of small and a bit dingy. Our check in was fine and we decided to walk around a bit and find a place to eat. In no time we were relieved to see that our hotel was in an area full of shops and restaurants and as we already knew it was w/i walking distance to the major attractions we quickly became at ease with its location. We found a nice restaurant called Cappodocia where ladies were seated in the front window rolling out dough and making bread on what looked like a huge upside down wok. We sat on nice fluffly cushions for a table low to the ground and had a wonderful meal and struck up a nice conversation with a solo traveling Austrian gal so all in all it was a good beginning to IST. I also tried my 1st ever Turkish coffee and quickly learened that you have to wait a bit to let the grounds settle B4 trying it. :D
The next day we began to explore IST. Our 1st stop was the Grand Bazaar which was about a 10 min. walk from our hotel. This place is amazing as it seems to go on forever. We shopped, had some apple tea which besides Turkish coffee is one one of the must try drinks while you are hear. Our next stop was the Blue Mosque which was just outside the bazaar. After that we wanted to try Topkapi palace but was told it was closed that day so we headed back to the hotel. Well we sort of got lost and decided to take a cab but the driver didn't know our hotel so he called anoterh driver who also didn't know our hotel. Now what? So I remembered the name of that restaurant and that he knew so he dropped us there and we finally got back to our hotel.
That night we went to a belly dancing show which I had prearranged B4 we left. Bottom line, hey who doesn't like to see belly dancing :D However the food truly was tasteless. The dancers were amazing. :-) Stay tuned.

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