Video of our Bike Ride.

I have been thinking about the best way to sign off on my blog and I think that this video does a nice job of capturing the biking experience. Safe and happy biking to you all and enjoy the memories from the video.

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Hagia Sophia, Istanbul.

Hagia Sophia, Istanbul.

This magnificent structure is the former Greek Orthodox Basilica of the Byzantine Era from 537 until 1453. It served briefly as a Roman Catholic cathedral from 1204 – 1261. Sometime after 1453 there was a large battle won by the conqueror Mehmet and it was converted into a Muslim mosque. The photo clearly shows mosaics of the Christian faith surrounded by sacred readings from the Koran. The Muslim believers covered up the mosaics with plaster which has preserved them over the centuries. The Hagia Sophia is now a museum under extensive renovations. One can only stand in awe at the sheer beauty and also the tremendous feat to have built something so wonderful so many centuries ago.

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The Blue Mosque of Istanbul.

The Blue Mosque of Istanbul.

We spent a wonderful day touring several of the significant sites of Istanbul and really felt that you were scratching the surface. We had our own personal guide – a delightful Turkish young woman who spoke English beautifully. There is so much to take in it becomes overwhelming. Istanbul has an official population of 15 million, although this probably climbs higher if you factor in the students who are registered in other municipalities but live in Istanbul. The capital city is Ankara with a population of approximately 2.5 million but most people think Istanbul is the capital. The traffic is chaotic.

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A silk rug being woven Turkish style with the typical double knot.

A silk rug being woven Turkish style with the typical double knot.

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Checking out Turkish carpets at the Grand Bazaar.

Checking out Turkish carpets at the Grand Bazaar.

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Very yummy and totally decadent.

Very yummy and totally decadent.

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My first Turkish Bath in Istanbul.

My first Turkish Bath in Istanbul.

I have been scrubbed from head to toe in the delightful Hamam style so I am shiny as a new pin. This was a surprise birthday gift from my three sons. I was also spoilt with some wonderfully rich chocolate cake. Photo to follow as proof positive of the divine decadence of it all.

My surprise also includes dinner which I will enjoy a little later. The staff at the Four Seasons Hotel in Istanbul knew all about my biking trip and wanted to know if I had really cycled from Paris. When I said yes there was a certain look – eyebrows were raised – heads nodded, smiles and claps of joy. I got the sense that maybe they thought they were dealing with a nutter so I did a lot of head nodding and smiling and claps of joy and then they all gave me a big hug. How sweet.

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