Jerusalem: Religion rests heavily on the city, everywhere you turn, then you are lifted high on angels’ wings over tiny chapels, hear hymns echoing through the deep and narrow passages. See the bright modern synagogues protecting ancient tablets and holy arks, richly carved and painted. Contrasted to underground orthodox tunnels holding Byzantine faces and velvet gold incense infused relics. Then back out into the street, vibrant commerce and color of the local people, moving en masse to places of worship. Pass by more and more shops, with shoes from China, hippie clothing like we wore in the 70’s, bizarre smoking accessories, plastic toys, baklava and dried fruits. Nuns scurry in full habit, lost among the Jews on the Sabbath under a sea of black hats on slim young men.
Istanbul: Turkey's fabled city of 17 million inhabitants and a glorious history of great empires. We explored the great bazaars, palaces, gardens, channels by ferry, and mosques until we could walk no further. An unending array of spices, fabrics, and holy places of prayer at every turn.