The weekend before this past one we were in Turkey. We went to Izmir and Istanbul. This was the first Muslim country I have ever been to and I enjoyed it a lot. In Turkey there are prayers that get blasted over loud speakers at certain hours of the day and it is really interesting to hear. While in Turkey we visited the Ephesus site which was an amazing thing to see. There were a lot of still standing ruins and it was easier to tell how everything would have been set up just by looking around and one could almost get a feel for how life was living in this area, better than some of the other sites with little remains left.
Istanbul has become one of my favorite cities that I have been to. While there we went to the Blue Mosque which was enormous and impressive. This mosque was built with the intention of being bigger and better than that of Hagia Sophia which is right next door. Hagia Sophia used to be a Christian church before the Ottomans took it over. It was decided that the Hagia Sophia would not be demolished because of cultural relevance so it was turned into a museum. My favorite part of Istanbul was the spice bazaar and food market. It really made me wish that I lived there because the food and spices were so fresh and delicious. The other thing that sold me on Istanbul was the fresh juice stands on almost every corner which sold juices from apples, oranges, pomegranates, and carrots. A return visit to Istanbul is a definite must for me at some point in my life.
Now being back in Athens, it is the day of elections back in the United States. The plan is to go to our favorite taverna for dinner and then stay up until all the votes are in. At that point it will be close to 3 or 4am here in Athens. I cannot wait to see all this go down tonight.