Fascinating to see this. Again very busy, but at least you were given a bag for your shoes instead of having to leave them outside. Not able to spend a great deal of time inside because of the long queues of people waiting to get in. I'm glad I went, but wouldn't want to repeat the visit
Spice Market Rating:
This is a wonderfully colourful and aromatic experience, but not for those who are uncomfortable in extremely crowded and confined spaces. The building is high but narrow and the day we went (Sunday) it was choc a bloc. The main entrance is also the main exit so people jostle to get in and out. Once in, it can be difficult to be a tourist i.e. to stand and look - because you get carried along. Like the rest of the Istanbul visit, it's not one I would have wanted to miss, but not one I'd care to repeat. According to our guide it's like that every day.
Topkapi Walking Tour Rating: Not Rated
This was a Sunday visit the day before a public holiday. You'd have been forgiven for thinking that all 16 million of Istanbul's inhabitants were out visiting its historical sights, together with its 5000 persistent and often aggressive street vendors. The palace and museum were overcrowded and it was difficult trying to see the exhibits. We did spend a few fleeting seconds looking at the famous jewel encrusted dagger and the 82 carat diamond and that was about it. You couldn't stand still and linger. Glad I had the opportunity to see it nonetheless.
The City Tour included The Palace of the Grand Masters, The Street of Knights, Rhodes Old Town and the Archaeological Museum. This was a useful taster and Rhodes is one place I'd consider re-visiting. We skipped the museum - there's only so much historical information you can take in, so we went to explore the old town and had a leisurely coffee and pastry instead. Try to ignore the invitations of the bar and restaurant owners in the main square to eat and drink there. See a price list first. They can be expensive.
This gets 5+ chiefly because of the beauty of the area and the engaging nature of our guide. The beautiful weather did a lot to help as well and the sea food platter we enjoyed in one of the restaurants. The shopkeepers and the restaurant owners were all very friendly without being pushy. This is a place to visit again and one in which you can sit and let the world pass by.
Panagia Tourliani Monastery Rating:
A wonderful monastery which does a lot to support its community. Well worth the visit.