We flew to Istanbul 3 days early and explored the city. We stayed in the Hotel Adora and loved the location and the fantastic restaurants nearby. Although it rained lightly during our entire stay, we enjoyed Istanbul very much. Be prepared to get a strong sales pitch at the Spice Market and Grand Bazaar. We enjoyed Topkapi and Hagia Sophia very much. The mosques were fun (why do they destroy the beautiful interrior views by hanging a thousand wires???). There was plenty to do in our time there and we could have spend more time visiting the museums and other sites.
We took our first ship excursion in two cruises and were impressed. The day including a great buffet lunch at a Turkish resort. I loved the variety of foods. We spent time at Mary's Place, John's church, and a museum. But the highlight of the day, was the time spent at Ephesus - a truely remarkable place.
A very relaxed day. We visited the Fish Doctor, where for a few euros a school of fish sucks on your feet and eats away all the dead skin. My wife was quite nervous but the experience was great. We all felt like we were dancing on air as we left the place. Not a lot to do, as a general Greek strikes shut down the museums for the day. We walked and shopped and found an incredible Greek Restauran - Tanam.
We made the 1 mile walk from the pief to the Metro and were on our own for the day. Spent the day in the Agora and then climbed the Acropolis and experienced the Parethon. Had a great lunch (tripadvisor is your friend) and enjoyed the Acropolysis Museum. Took the Metro back and hopped on the 483 bus all the way to the boat. Experienced more that the excursion for a fraction of the price.
Spent two days walking in the footsteps of my Savior. Incredible experience. Was part of church group and was able to spend time in the Garden of Gethesame as a group. Bought a lot of olive wood carving at Jimmy's (best prices around). Eerie experience walking through the narrow alleys of Jerusalem at night. Visting the Western Wall (many call Wailing wall) on a Barmitzah (sp?) day - what an experience. All the singing, clapping, horn-blowing and candy throwing must be experienced!
Went sailing on the Sea of Galilee. Visited the Jordan River just below the Sea of Galilee. At the river there were these gigantic river rats that would swim right up to the individuals getting baptized. Cover the children's eyes, people were baptizing themselves with nothing on but a THIN sheet.