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Istanbul, Turkey

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Istanbul was a wonderful surprise. I was expecting something more Middle Eastern, perhaps – similar to Morocco, but the reality is that Istanbul is a highly European city with well-organized public transportation, a sophisticated tourism industry, a thriving arts scene, and quite a bit to do and see.  Our first night, we met up with a camp friend who knows Istanbul well and introduced us to the best Baklava in town, which quickly became a thrice-daily occurrence.  We toured all the major landmarks – the Blue Mosque, the Aya Sofia, the Topkapi Palace, Grand Bazaar, Egyptian Bazaar, Synagogue, Bosphorus boat from Europe to Asia (one side of the city to the other)– each place magnificent in its own right.  Clearly, after all that touring, we couldn’t help but unwind with steam rooms and massages at a Turkish hammam.

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