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Below are the most recent 4 friends' journal entries.

    Friday, October 6th, 2017
    Mediterranean trip day 10
    Last official tour day; tomorrow we head back to the US.

    This morning we hit the Topkapi Palace and Hagia Sophia, both museums now within walking distance of our hotel (called Sura). The palace is a little bit reminiscent of the Forbidden Palace, if only in gaudiness, though of course not nearly as big as the chinese emperor's epeen.

    Lunch was at a random restaurant and not much of note. Afterwards we visited the Basilica Cistern, which was pretty cool and Moria-esque. Unfortunately my camera couldn't see a thing down there and gave up the last of its battery trying. Oh well, just as well I didn't need it anymore.

    The remaining afternoon was spent at the grand bazaar. I got my Istanbul T-shirt for the collection. My mom spent the rest of our Euros on some scarves and a lamb-skin jacket. Pft.

    Dinner was at this seafood place. Their grilled bass (and other fish servings) were pretty good. Comparatively, though, I'd say I've preferred the Greek restaurants to the Turkish ones (cruise excepted). Better salads and more tender meats.

    This entry was originally posted at https://tanithryudo.dreamwidth.org/472131.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
    Thursday, October 5th, 2017
    Mediterranean trip day 9
    Aka day 2 Istanbul. Also, it appears Turkey is a kitty kingdom too. Cats cats everywhere.

    Our hotel is very well located, so our morning walk passed by several items of interest, including the outside of the hippodrome, an Egyptian obelisk and the original of a spire we just saw days ago in Delphi.

    First major tour spot was the Blue Mosque, and all the women had to put on head scarves to get in. Otherwise, thr inside aesthetics seemed pretty similar to medieval cathedrals to me. =P

    Then the Chora, a church turned mosque turned museum, known for its frescoes and mosaics.

    Then the...Sulaiman Mosque (?).

    After that we had lunch near the Egyptian spice bazaar. Grilled fish sandwich sold off a boat. Kinda gimmicky, and taste was meh otherwise. Afterwards we had time to shop a bit, and ended up buying 2 boxes of Turkish Delights.

    Afternoon was a 2 hour cruise on the Bosphorus Strait, which was pretty cool to have Europe on one side and Asia the other.

    Finally, after a brief rest at the hotel, dinner was at a nightclub with a (traditional?) Turkish dance show. Yes, with bellydancers.

    This entry was originally posted at https://tanithryudo.dreamwidth.org/471819.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
    Wednesday, October 4th, 2017
    Mediterranean trip day 8
    Our last destination in Greece this morning was the Temple of Poseidon at Sounion. A very pretty place, but it was on the way there that I had my completely unrelated epiphany on just why the Hetalia character for Greece was a narcoleptic cat lover.

    If I had to estimate the number of cats I've seen so far on this tour, it would be *at least* 5, per *day*. And I'm not talking half wild cats that are appropriately wary or humans. These are all domesticated felines just placidly waiting for tourist to coo over/pet/feed them.

    Also, Greeks have a waaaay easy lifestyle. Most retail stores only open 3-4 days a week, and even places that do open daily for tourist have short hours by US or Chinese standards.

    Also noticed that even the middle of Athens is closer to US suburbia in the amount of foot and car traffic you would typically see on the street. That is to say, very little of anything seems to be going on. The only places that are full of people are the tourist spots.

    Comparatively, arriving at Istanbul this afternoon was rather reminiscent of arriving in China (or HK or Taiwan, etc.) in terms of all the masses of people, construction, and general activity.

    (Current time is 9:15 pm)

    This entry was originally posted at https://tanithryudo.dreamwidth.org/471701.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
    Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017
    Mediterranean trip day 7
    Left Paktos at a leisurely 830 am today. On the way out of town, we drove its venetian harbor and some old castle.

    Then it was a long drive across the bridge to the Pelopponesian (sp?) peninsula and over to the Olympia archaeological site. More walking, ruins, and museum with statues of nekkid men (with the dangly bits on display). *eye waggle*

    Then a lunch at a place near the museum, befor starting the long drive back, this time by way of the bridge over the Corinthian canal. It looked more narrow than I expected, but apparently all canals are like that and modern ships do make use of it.

    The hotel tonight is the same one in Athens that we first used, Elektra Palace, though not the same rooms obviously. Ah the small niceties of a 5 star hotel...

    (Currently 9:20pm)

    This entry was originally posted at https://tanithryudo.dreamwidth.org/471315.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
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