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Istanbul greeted us with a bright sunny sky and a delicious Turkish breakfast feast to what was a wonderful start to our tour!

Whilst in Istanbul we visited the Blue mosque,  Hagia Sophia,Topkapi Palace and the Byzantine Hippodrome. A visit to the the bustling Spice Bazar filled the senses with exotic aromas, colours and far too many sweets to choose from!  A luxury cruise on the Bosphorus - a strait separating two continents - Europe and Asia , treated us to the mesmerising Istanbul skyline.

En-route to Canakkale we stopped at the Gallipoli Peninsula, with no crowds nor tour coaches around , we walked on  the beach at Anzac Cove, visited the allied cemeteries and paid our respects to the many lives that were lost.  A very special and precious visit for all the sisters.

The Acropolis of Pergamum and the nearby city of Troy, home of the famed Trojan Horse were next on the itinerary, where we now start to see the influence of the ancient Roman and Byzantine empire along with the strength of the Ottoman rule .

Ephesus, a UNESCO site and one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world, built in the 4th century BC is a MUST visit! 

Walking down the long paved road with remains of homes and shops on either side, history was brought to life with the imposing Library of Celcius beckoning in the distance!

The emotion that this site stirred was amazing!

 A  three - night stop at the Aegean coast- town of Bodrum gave us the opportunity to relax and enjoy a day cruise on our private gulet ( traditional wooden boat ) shop and dine at the many cafes and restaurants, with many taking the opportunity to visit the renown Bodrum Castle housing the Underwater Archaeology Museum.

Onto Pamukkale and the ancient city of Hierapolis , known for its hot springs and therapeutic healing powers (once the retreat of Anthony and Cleopatra.) The nearby white calcium terraces and thermal pools , known as Travertines, were a highlight and a magnificent natural wonder.

Our Hotel for the evening also gave us the opportunity to relax and bathe in its thermal hot water pools.

Travelling along the ancient silk road we headed inland to the Valley of Cappadocia, famous for its unique volcanic rock formations, its underground cities, churches, as well as being the origin of the "whirling Dervish '' ritual.  Everyone has heard of the hot air balloon rides in Cappadocia -  Surreal , magically, are words that come to mind as we floated in the sky with another 119 balloons, mesmerised by the beauty of the rugged moonscapes and "fairy chimneys " below.  It came to an end all too soon. A tick off the bucket list for 12 happy sisters! 

An hour-long flight brought us back to Istanbul for the last few days of our trip.

We visited the magnificent underground Basilica Cistern, took belly dancing and cooking classes, visited the Grand Bazar and had time for last minute shopping. Our trip was full of adventure and wondrous sights, not to mention the delicious food and the friendly warm hospitality of the Turkish people.

Turkiye, its sights and history was brought to life by our local guide , Goksu (aka "G") who besides his in depth knowledge was always on hand to help find a local ATM , medicine, wine or tonic for the late night G&T as well as directing us where to buy the best baklava !!

Along with the laughter, stories shared and impromptu singing, the support and inclusiveness of the sisters was great to see with many special memories and friendships made.

In the words of Delwyn "it (Turkiye)"fills my heart with joy"

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About the Author: Sisterhood Womens Travel

The Sisterhood Womens Travel team consists of experienced tour hostesses with over 70 years combined travel experience throughout 5 continents and we can’t wait to share our passion for travel with you! There really is no better way to travel!

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