We recently returned from two-and-a-half weeks in Turkey. It was a fabulous trip! We spent a few days in Istanbul before joining a Rick Steves Europe Through The Back Door Tour. After the tour we went back to Istanbul for another two days. Our great group of tourmates made everything fun. Our wonderful guide taught us a great deal--and he was fun, too!
It was Istanbul's Sixth Annual Tulip Festival. The tulips were gorgeous. We had fun walking in Gulhane Park, watching parents take photos of their kids with the tulips. It seemed very familiar... When someone sat down in the tulip beds for a photo, a policeman blew a whistle to tell them to move along.
Everyone thinks of the Netherlands when they think of tulips, but tulips actually originated in Turkey. Tulips came to Holland (Netherlands) in the 1500s, and by the 1630s Tulipmania erupted. It was a period of wild financial speculation when a single bulb could cost as much as a house.
This is a window in a tailor's shop in Istanbul. I couldn't resist the combination of wooden shoes and a sewing machine.
The tulip motif is everywhere in Turkey. These are some beautiful pillows in the Spice Bazaar.
A lovely rug with the tulip motif in the Arasta Bazaar in Istanbul. I would have liked to get a closer look to see the construction techniques. From the street, it looked pieced, but it may have been woven as a tapestry. The salesmen were quite enthusiastic, and Dr. Mathematics, my associate traveler, and I decided just to look from a distance.
A tulip motif from the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations. It was in a display case. I can't remember why exactly it was there--so I've got to go back!
Before we left and since we returned home, we've had a number of questions about safety in Turkey. We NEVER felt unsafe in Turkey. We did keep our passports, credit cards and big money in a money belt, and we looked both ways before we crossed a street. Turkey is legally a secular democracy, although not quite like the USA. We found the people helpful and friendly, the food delicious, and the scenery stunning. The history of Turkey is long, complex, and fascinating. If you have a chance, go to Turkey!