17.05.2011 - 17.05.2011 28 °C
Hello and welcome to our last main post to the blog. The first comment this morning from a student was, "I don't want to leave." I am sure we are all going to say the same thing.
After a sleep in we headed off to Hagia Sophia, which is now a museum. The original structures, built in the 4th century were both destroyed by fire - some of the marble from the second structure is displayed in the garden. This is an unique structure as it began as Byzantine church and later became a mosque. Once again it is hard to describe the magnitude of this structure. It far surpasses the Blue Mosque in size, mosaics, marble and stained glass. Some of the photos might help.
From Hagia Sophia we were off to the Grand Bazaar and I must say it was GRAND. Over 4,000 shops under one roof. Under this one roof you can buy just about ANYTHING! Scarves, towels, t-shirts, purses (real? Perhaps), jewellry (gold and silver) - you name it they have it. One of my best memories of Turkey will be the vivid colors that surround you every day. Something as simple as oranges and pomegranates pop with color.
While we only went to the Bazaar to buy one or two last items, we all seem to have come home with bags and bags of goodies.
The other memory of Turkey, for me personally, is the people. They are kind, sincere, generous and genuine. They truly want you to come into their business but if you don't want to that is okay too! Today at lunch our waiter, Justin, brought us fresh watermelon for dessert (not ordered by us) and then after we tipped him he brought us each a fresh carnation. And, oh how they love having their pictures taken with you.
The food has also been amazing and delicious. Everything is fresh and so very tasty. This blog cannot adequately describe the tastes we have savored on this trip!
Most of the group is off to dinner and a belly dancing show tonight. It should be a fun way to wrap things up and hear about everyone's adventures from today. A few are off to see a Whirling Dervish show.
We hope you have enjoyed our blog. I am sure you will be anxious to greet your loved ones at the airport on Wednesday. I will upload some more photos when I get back.....I have a 'few' to share!