Cheryl Scremin | Flight Centre Independent | Home Based Travel Agent
Flight Centre Associates

Cheryl Scremin

604 290 2895

Cheryl's Blog


Posted on: Thursday July 27, 2017
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My Paris and Istanbul Trip 

I recently had the opportunity to take a fantastic agent's training trip to Europe (we agents call them fam-trips).  I visited Paris and Istanbul, followed by a Black Sea Cruise on Windstar Cruises' Star Pride (which I will cover in a separate blog).

This was my 3rd visit to Paris and it's still my favourite city.  I never get tired of the fantastic food and I love the history and architecture.  In addition to all the main tourist attractions, I did something new this time, the Aerfun Paris Hot Air Balloon ride.  What a great way to get a bird's eye view!   

I stayed in the 6th, Saint Germain-Des-Pres, which--in my opinion--is the best arrondissement to stay in when visiting Paris.  The streets and cafes are wonderful and it's walking distance to all the main sites.  One suggestion, if you are traveling with more than carry-on bags do not take the train from the airport into the city!  Many of the Metro stations do not have elevators so that makes for quite the luggage-juggle.  

As in most cities, the Hop-On-Hop-Off bus tours are the best way to see all the major sites in a short period of time.  L'Open Tour is one of 2 in Paris.  You can buy 1 or 2-day passes, but you definitely need the 2-day to see everything.  

The 18th, Montmartre, is the only hill in Paris so it's a wonderful vantage point from which to view the rest of the city.  Sacre Coeur is the highlight of this arrondissement, but don't get caught up in the peddler's scams of "bracelets by donation" or collecting for the "mute".  There is always some new trick but I recommend not engaging them and hanging onto your belongings.  The streets here are especially lovely with gems like this little restaurant.  We ate here on our first trip to Paris 14 years ago, so I was tickled to see it's still open.  

After 2 short days in Paris it was off to Istanbul, Turkey.  This was my first time in Turkey but I cannot wait to go back!  I stayed in Sultanahmet which is also known as Old Town.  This is the historical district and walking distance to all the famous sites like Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace and the Grand Bazaar.  We stayed at a gorgeous gem called the Hotel Amira.  Although it's very highly-ranked on the review sites, I was still amazed at how gorgeous this hotel was--especially considering how well-priced it is.  Hotels in Istanbul are a lot less than other European cities I've visited.

Rooftop patios are common here.  What a fantastic welcome to enjoy a glass of wine on the patio while having our orientation by the amazing staff.

Our room:

The breakfast room:

These spectacular light fixtures are everywhere in Turkey: 

We hired a local guide for a walking tour.  What a great way to see the city!  (Although by the end of the day we had walked 20,000 steps so it wasn't for the faint of heart!)

Hagia Sophia:

The Blue Mosque at night:

Fantastic colourful streets:

Glass galore!

And spices galore!

Everyone has heard about the Grand Bazaar, and while it's an interesting place, our guide suggested shopping at the Spice Bazaar or the shops outside the Grand Bazaar instead.  Apparently the prices are much better outside the Bazaar because the rent is so high.  We certainly found that to be the case and purchased some lovely ceramic pieces at a great price in a store across from our hotel.

It takes a bit of planning to see all the major sites in Istanbul because they stagger the days the various sites are closed.  Typically they are all open on the weekend and then closed one day during the week.  I was most disappointed to miss seeing the Dolmabahce Palace for this reason.

I will cover the cruise in the next blog (too much for one blog!), but when we returned from that portion of the trip--and before flying home--we stayed 1 night in the Karakoy area.  It's closest to the cruise port, but walking distance to Taksim Square.  This is a famous square at the end of a long pedestrian street, known for shopping and restaurants.  This place is hopping!  It's the modern district of Istanbul and completely different than the Old Town.  Here you can find dozens upon dozens of wonderful street cafes and lots of live music as well as shopping.  

We stayed that night at the Karakoy Port Hotel which was actually walking distance from the ship. Unfortunately we didn't think we could handle our luggage so took a taxi--which turned into quite the ordeal!  Of course no one wanted to take us just down the street when most passengers were heading to the airport.  The hotel was lovely though, and reasonably-priced.

These last 2 pictures fall under the category of "lost in translation"?

I thoroughly enjoyed my time in both of these wonderful cities and can't wait to go back!


Cheryl Scremin

Surrey, British Columbia

Contact Number:
604 290 2895

Alternate Number:
778 783 4158


About Cheryl:

I run my personal travel business in partnership with a company known throughout Canada for wonderful travel experiences at amazing prices - Flight Centre

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