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Yazar: Karen Bartlett
"ISTANBUL—A pink and lavender dawn backlights the silhouettes of the minarets and domes that define Old Constantinople. From the deck of my cruise ship, I get my first look at Istanbul, the 2000 year-old capital of the ancient Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman Empires.
I haven’t slept well. Whirling dervishes, with their white capes and pointed hats, kept spinning around in my head, mixed up in my dreams with the smoky haze from hookah pipes. One minute I was lost in the maze of a street bazaar, the next minute I was lounging like a sultana in a steamy hamam, the darkly mysterious Turkish bath of the ancient world.
Istanbul is a port of call on Crystal Serenity’s twelve-day Byzantine Odyssey voyage. I’ll have less than 48 hours to touch, taste and feel the intense flavors of this “city of a thousands mosques.”
From the drop-off point of my cruise shuttle, I head toward the spires of the New Mosque. But I hit a dead end at a massive gray stone wall. I pass through the break in the wall – a soaring Moorish arch, into what looks like a major motion picture in production. A man in a stained white baker’s shirt is maneuvering a cart of oven-fragrant simit (sesame-coated bread) over rough cobblestones. Carpet vendors are barking at each other and passing tourists."