A couple of weeks ago I started a contest in the hopes of extracting some great ideas for our upcoming trip to Istanbul and London. I had planned to announce the results last week, but due to some technical difficulties with our servers, I decided to hold off until things were operating smoothly.

For those of you who are not familiar with this contest, you can get caught up by reading my earlier post.

I found that holding these kinds of contests help bring out some great ideas from people that have been to a destination first hand. On my 2 trips to Hong Kong (Trip report 1 2 3 4)in December and January, I found your idea’s invaluable and made my visits that much better. I’m sure that Istanbul will be no different.

So without further ado, here is the Winner of Round 1:

GARY T: You must visit the Basilica Cistern, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basilica_Cistern it is amazing to see such a large cistern underground the city of Istanbul!

The decision to chose Gary T’s idea was easy. My wife loved it. Last year during our trip to Italy we had a chance to visit Rome, Sorrento, Capri and Vatican City. While visiting the Vatican we signed up for the private tour of the Necropolis which took us beneath St. Peter’s Basilica to explore the underground grave sites and even had a chance to view the purported remains of St. Peter himself. We also visited the Catacombs of San Callisto in Rome which was beyond impressive. I see a pattern emerging when I travel with my wife, she loves to visit underground relics. Visiting the Cisterns seems like the perfect compliment to the other underground places we have seen. Thanks Gary!! I’ll be in touch regarding the kind of souvenir you’d like me to bring back for you!!

ON TO ROUND 2!!

Round 2 starts today and will continue until midnight on Sunday, March 25 (eastern time). I already have a long to-do list for London, so that wont be a problem. It’s Istanbul that we’ll need some help with! So I’m hoping to gather another great batch of ideas and have reason to bring back yet another souvenir for a lucky reader! Please share this contest with your Facebook friends and Twitter Followers!

Here were the other ideas from Round 1:

Turkish Bath, Fish Sandwich by Galata Bridge, Banyan Tree Restaurant, Stay at Hotel Eresin Crown, Tunel Funicular, Sultanhamet and Blue Mosque at night, Diva Hotel, IST Lounge, Topkapi Palace, Bosphorous Tour, Buyukada Island.

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