After a beautiful week in Antalya, we left Club Med to continue our Turkish travels in Istanbul. It was hard to say goodbye to the beach, but we were definitely excited to see Mine and Colin. We were there to celebrate their wedding, after all!
The wedding was on Saturday, so we had a few days to explore Istanbul beforehand. We ate, drank, and shopped our faces off (more on that to come!), but we also visited the famous sites steeped in rich history. It is really difficult for me to wrap my head around centuries worth of culture. Incredible.
Mine's mother organized a tour for the American wedding guests, and I am so grateful. We learned so much from the English-speaking guide that showed us around all day. The stories and little tidbits of trivia that we got from him were my favorite part - things we would have never picked up from taking a tour on our own. (For example, tulips are often associated with the Netherlands, but they were actually first cultivated by the Ottoman Empire. It is said that the first bulbs were sent to Northwestern Europe as a gift from Suleyman the Magnificent. In fact, story has it that when the bulbs first arrived, they were assumed to be some sort of onion and were attempted to be eaten! This is why you see tulips depicted in so much of the Turkish tile work, carpets, and fabrics.)