Our second day in Istanbul took us to the Bosphorus for a leisurely boat ride on this waterway connector that separates Europe from Asia and provides the passage from the Black Sea to the Aegean Sea and on to the Mediterranean Sea. Our private guide Can (pronounced "John") made the trip with us and pointed out the many reasons this waterway is so important to the region. Over 50,000 container ships ply these waters every year, together with ferries that take both passengers and cars from one side to the other. Many Turks prefer to live on either the Asian side of the city and work on the European side (or vice-versa) and use these "commuters" to get to work and back each day. Add to that the tourist boats, the yachts, sailboats, and all kinds of personal watercraft and you can see this is very busy waterway. They are now in the process of building a car tunnel under the Bosphorus.
The next adventure was a trip to the Egyptian Spice Market. We have a daughter and son who love to cook and use all kinds of flavorings to create their delightful meals, and spices were on their list for us to bring back to them. The owner of one of the shops was more than willing to take us through his entire collection of spices for use in almost everything that is edible. I think my sense of smell will never be the same again!
After pausing for lunch in a place that served Turkish Pizza (cheese on pita bread.....really!) we drove to the St. Chora Museum which is an old 14th Century chapel covered with mosaics and frescoes from the Bible. They actually told the whole ministry of Jesus in wall paintings and decorations. This, by the way, is what many of the old European churches did with their stained glass windows. A parent could come in with his child and tell the whole Christian story by going from window to window.
We finally said goodbye to our guide, John, as he delivered us to the airport for our flight to Izmir, the site of our next adventure. So next we will tell you about Pergamum and Ephesus, two of the seven churches to whom Jesus wrote letters as mentioned in the first three chapters of the Book of Revelation.
Bud & Kathy
Bud and Kathy Downs are making another trip to the Lands of the Bible-- first Turkey and Greece (from May 11 to 22) and then to Israel (from May 22 to June 8). We invite you to join us through our travel blog. We intend to post regular updates and pictures of Bible sites.