Istanbul (Not Constantinople)

I was warned before arriving in turkey to dress very conservatively, to be careful of what I said, who I talked to, and where I went so much to the point where I started to feel a little nervous, but after being there I quickly realized that I was worrying too much. In fact I felt completely comfortable there. while yes there were some pretty pushy men, and shop keepers, and it was defiantly more than a good idea to have one of the boys with you if you went out at night, turkey was like any other place where there are always good things as well as bad.

We started off in Kusadesi where we stayed for two nights and while we were there went on a guided tour of the temple of Artemis and the ancient city of Ephasus. There wasn’t much left at the temple of Artemis but just being in the place where such a magnificent temple used to be was amazing. Ephasus was the exact opposite of the temple of Artemis. A good portion of the city is still being excavated but you would never be able to tell from the fact that it took us around two hours to get a brief tour of the place and explore what was left of the ancient library tunnels leading to secret brothels, and ancient toilets.

That night karaoke was the name of the game, “Fergalicious”, “Bohemian Rhapsody”, "Total Eclipse of the heart" and having “Friends in Low Places” provided a lot of fun for everyone before heading off to Istanbul where despite the torrential down pour of rain we were able to see the blue mosque, the Hagia Sofia, and Topkapi Palace. After the palace a group of us decided to get dinner at a traditional Turkish restaurant where they sat you down on pillows placed on the floor, played live music and a woman made the bread you ate right in front you. The food was delicious, the band taught me how to belly dance and even though no one else from our group would dance with me I seemed to be pretty good judging from the applause I got from the restaurant.

On our last day in turkey a group of us decided to go off on our own and see what it would be like to be bathed by someone. That is… we went to a Turkish bath, which was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had.

So if you ever get the chance to be put into a cocoon of bubbles and soap then be scrubbed thoroughly by an old Turkish woman I recommend you be the fist in line.
1. I have never felt so clean in my life
2. There is no two I will never be that clean or relaxed again in my life.

One of the boys in the group once told me that he wanted to find the place that he loved most and go back there someday, I feel like Turkey might be that place for me. Like I said there are ups and downs to any place, and for me I enjoyed it way more than I can describe despite the pushy shop keepers, and men.

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