Exotic and Delightful Istanbul
by Steve Ray on November 2, 2015
Turkey is dangerous, correct? Different, dirty, unfriendly – right? NO!
As all of our pilgrims discovered today Istanbul is a beautiful, clean, friendly, historical, and interesting city. We spent the whole day touring Istanbul and all its historical wonders.
The only thing that leaves us a little bit cold is that it is a Muslim city full of mosques. But most of the people are not practicing and the city is very Western European. The food is delicious, and the experience of touring this city is both exotic and exciting.
Most Catholics have never set foot inside of mosque so I took them all inside the famous Blue Mosque so they could see what a mosque is and learn a bit about Islam. Then to the Hagia Sophia which was once the largest church in the world for a thousand years before St. Peter’s Basilica was built. The stunning grandeur of this glorious edifice impressed everyone.
We ate at a traditional Turkish restaurant so everyone could sample a variety of Turkish foods before going to the Spice Market which is an experience all on its own.
Mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit was moving. Before he was pope, John the 23rd served here as a priest for 10 years. We came back to the ship and everybody had a free evening before we head off for Pergamum.
For those who are interested, in April 2016 we are taking a very thorough pilgrimage through all of Turkey by bus. We’re going to visit all of the biblical sites including Istanbul and even Tarsus where St. Paul was born and Antioch where we were first called Christians.
HIGHLIGHTS OF OUR DAY IN ISTANBUL
Video of the HOMILY AT CATHEDRAL OF THE HOLY SPIRIT