🕌 Journey to Istanbul with CP Travel Ambassador Christi Esterle

Posted on: Sep 3, 2022 2:00:09 AM

If you ever get a chance to travel to Greece and Turkey, you'll get a glimpse into culture and history that is awe-inspiring. Join CP Travel Ambassador Christi Esterle as she takes us to the beauty of Santorini and the grandeur of the Blue Mosque.

What specific cities and /or countries did you visit? Greece, Italy, and Turkey

What was your favorite memory from this trip? Seeing the beautiful wildflowers among the ruins at Delos, and the beautiful views and sunset at Santorini

Top excursions and landmarks/sites to visit:

  • Wine tasting and walking tour in Santorini
  • Old city tour in Taormina (Sicily)
  • The Acropolis in Athens
  • The Vatican and museums
  • Ephasus
  • Delos
  • Pompeii

Were there any standout restaurants or foodie must-haves on this trip? Wine and limoncello in Italy. Turkish delight at the bazaars in Istanbul (the real stuff is incredible!). Azendia Agricola in Sorrento--fascinating demonstrations on olive oil, cheese, and wine, plus great souvenirs!

How would you describe the people and culture of this destination? Any interesting cultural lessons? Warm, laid-back, and friendly. Vendors are very eager to talk and share their products, especially in Istanbul.

What is something people would be surprised to learn about this destination? Everyone knows about the great archeological sites in places like Athens, Rome, and Naples, but you never really realize how steeped the areas are in ancient history until you visit. At a souvenir store in Plaka I looked down and realized I was standing on a glass floor giving a view of the excavated ruins below!

Top 5 Tips and recommendations for this trip:

  • May is the perfect time to visit! While you will still see a lot of tourist groups the crowds are not at their summer height, and the weather is perfect.
  • Leave plenty of time for walking around and exploring on your own; small museums, galleries, and
  • churches are everywhere so give yourself time to look for these hidden gems.
  • Adhan (the Muslim call to prayer) can be heard everywhere in Istanbul. It's a beautiful experience, but remember the first prayer is before sunrise. Bring earplugs if you want to avoid the early wake-up call.
  • Don't forget the dress code at religious sites! Shoulders, stomachs, and knees need to be covered for both men and women, and women need to cover their heads in mosques. I brought a multi-use shawl that I could drape loosely over my shoulders, wrap around my head, or use to cover my arms in chilly weather.
  • When taking lots of pictures, be sure to get a shot of nearby signage or descriptive plaques--it can help you remember specifics about the different sites.

Did you travel via cruise ship? If so, please describe the experience and some of the standout features that you ere excited about. We sailed on the Celebrity Reflection and it was wonderful. It was our first time with Celebrity and we loved the excellent food, especially at the specialty restaurants. Murano had some of the best lobster we've ever had on vacation, and the La Petit Chef experience was so fun! The Always Included package is a great value, allowing us to enjoy wine with our meals and the great service without worrying about our stateroom bill at the end. A great cruise line for foodies, art and culture lovers, and wellness travel.

What makes this destination a must-see in your opinion? Ancient history, magnificent Catholic, Orthodox, and Muslim religious sites, great culinary and wine offerings, rich art and culture.

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