Sunday, September 7, 2014

June 30, 1964 The Letter from Istanbul

Dear Mother & Daddy,

"We are in Istanbul, Turkey today.  We anchored here about 2:30 this afternoon & have spent the afternoon walking thru the covered bazaar.  It is a fantastic place.  There are 5000 shops in one spot and I have never seen so much gold jewelry in my life.  Bob bought an ivory and ebony chess set--not real elegant but nice & he was happy with it.  We could not take pictures for the place is all covered and B didn't bring a flash.  Tomorrow we are going on a tour to see a palace, a mosque and some other things.

Part of our group went on another tour today but we thought one day of palaces was enough.  I wanted to see the bazaar for I'd read so much about it.  We met several people there from our ship.

Yesterday we went to Ephesus. That was very interesting but very sad.  There have been 5 great cities in that place and now there are ruins.  Paul preached there against the worship of the goddess Diana--one of the seven wonders of the world.   He was imprisoned there & part of the prison is still in on one of the hills.  Mary lived there the last nine years of her life but we did not get to see the little house.  It isn't really her house anyway.  The foundation of the council house where Mary was proclaimed as the Mother of Jesus is still there. Archeologists are still uncovering these cities.  The work was started in 1926 and will continue to 2006.  Americans have done a little but the Austrians are really doing it.  St. John who wrote the gospels is buried on one of the hills.

Tomorrow we go back to the Greek Islands.  We have been really impressed with Greece.  The people have so little to work with but they have done so much.  Early in the morning we would see people sweeping & cleaning.  Even in the country, there was very little rubbish anywhere.  That hasn't been true in Turkey.

This cruise has been wonderful. There is something to do all the time.  Last night after supper there was a costume party.  Ann, Polly & another girl rigged up a costume & won first prize for originality. Each one was given a Turkish water pipe.  It is a cute souvenir.

The base of the water pipe
Ann & Polly are visiting with an elderly British couple & having a great time. The man is a doctor & they are both real interesting.  There are some French & German people too but most of the passengers are from the U.S.A.  All of us are learning a lot.  The tables are set with enough silverware to feed 2 or 3 and meals are served in courses.  Ann said she'd sure hate to wash dishes here.  We feel stuffed after every meal & the stewards ask why if we can't eat everything.  The oranges and strawberries are huge & sweeter than any I've ever eaten.

Bonnie & B

Polly & Ann

It is about time for dinner so I will say bye.  Hope our cards have been coming right along. Sometimes it is quite a job to get things mailed."

                       Lots & lots of love,


NOTE:  This is the only letter from this trip.  I am certain that a postcard was written and mailed about every other day and suspect that they were given away to those who collected stamps.  

I remember well the costume party.  My friends covered themselves with a white sheet and attached a rope as a tail to create the Minotaur and I dressed in another sheet as the "unknown goddess".  The kitchen staff gave me parsley in order to make a wreath for my hair.  The water pipe's critical features were lost over the years, so now it's just a vase!  See the 5th picture from the top of the post for similar water pipes, popular souvenirs.

Tomorrow, Delos.

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