A week in Istanbul? Won't that be overkill? I've already seen it all. This will be my fifth visit in THIS lifetime -- not even speculating on all the other ones. Oh, what will I do? Wander around, of course. Visit all the places I haven't been to before. Well, that was my plan. But I wound up wandering around and visiting many of the places I HAD been to before. And enjoying them as though I had never even been there. Istanbul can do that for you.

I spent most of the days in Sultanahmet, the ancient section of the city which was surrounded and penetrated by walls that were begun 2700 years ago by the original Greek settlers. I passed by houses that were built into those walls or into the walls built along with the Sancta (in Latin, now Aya in Turkish, or Hagia or Agia or Aghia in Greek) Sophia church (then mosque, now museum) in the 5th century. The traditional wooden houses, some of them renovated and serving as hotels, are young here; as is the dilapidated and vacated 800 year old hammam across from my hotel (reportedly available for several million euros).

I bought a black leather jacket. I had tea with many carpet dealers -- apple if they asked, otherwise something really strong. I often stopped for a respite of bakhlava. And I took some pictures.

When you travel with someone you can always gush: "Oh, look at that". My response is to raise my camera, frame, and snap. And take a few steps and snap again. And so on. With a digital camera I find I take 4-5 times the number of photos that I took with slide film. In seven days in Istanbul I took over 250 shots -- and it was mostly overcast which is a slight hindrance to happy picture taking. Anyone who has ever experienced a slide show of "my latest trip" can appreciate the value of winnowing. Enjoy!