One more post from our 3 weeks in Europe! My Aunt went back home after a week in Istanbul and my Mom and I continued on to Venice. We spent two nights in an adorable B and B about two blocks from Saint Marc’s Square where we found Tom Hanks filming Inferno. We toured the Doge Palace, wandered around the canals, took a Gondola ride and then topped off our last night with a Vivaldi concert in an old cathedral.
From Venice we took the train to Florence where we visited the famous Duomo and Pitti Palace.
We left Florence and headed to Sorrento via Naples (one of the most chaotic places I’ve ever been). Sorrento served as a base for taking day trips to Capri, Positano/ the Amalfi Coast and Pompeii.
We capped our trip off with two nights in Rome. We visited Rome for 10 days back in 2006 so we didn’t feel the need to spend a lot of time there, but a short visit was perfect. Rome is just as spectacular as I remember.
And that’s it! I hope you enjoyed these photos from Italy! I hope my next visit to this beautiful country is not in the distant future. I would love to return to the Amalfi Coast and spend some more time in Florence/ Tuscany.
In Istanbul we stationed ourselves in the Sultanahmet neighborhood or the “Old City” at the Seven Hills Hotel about a five- minute walk to the Ayasofya aka Hagia Sophia, Cisterns, Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace. These places are the main tourist attractions and if you only have a couple days in Istanbul it is a very convenient area to stay in. Some of the other places not in Sultanahmet that I highly suggest visiting are the Grand Bazaar (goes without saying), Galata Tower, Istiklal (the New City), Taksim Square, the Asia side of town, Chora Church, Ortakoy Mosque (my favorite mosque) and to take a Bosphorus Cruise.
If you like history, food, shopping and are looking to go somewhere that will both excite you and welcome you with open arms then go to Istanbul! Someday when I return to Turkey, I would like to visit Ephesus, Cappadocia and head north to the Black Sea.
On another note- we felt completely safe. There is a lot of buzz about safety traveling in Istanbul but we never once felt insecure. Obviously be sure to take precaution when traveling anywhere but overall I felt safer in Istanbul than a lot of western cities.
After a long journey home I’m forcing myself to fight through the jetlag to share these photos from Brazil! I tagged along with my friend Mika and her family to Rio de Janeiro and Iguassu Falls. This was my second visit to the falls. We spent about a week touring Rio and had a special opportunity to celebrate New Year’s Eve there. Rio de Janeiro boasts one of the best NYE celebrations in the world with its extravagant fireworks show on Copacabana beach. Rio is one of the most vibrant and diverse cities in the world and I know I will return someday. Obrigado Brasil!