Readers picks: Overrated destinations of the world
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Istanbul, Turkey( Hocine Zaourar / AFP/Getty Images )
Place: Istanbul, Turkey
Last visited: 2007
My perspective: My experience was on a cruise of the western Mediterranean. It was a gay cruise starting in Athens, traveling to various islands and finishing in Venice, Italy. One stop only was quite a disappointment, and that was Istanbul. I took the boat excursion because of the offerings and expectations. One part of the trip was a rug museum. An hour plus looking at raggedy old rugs? Gimme a break. The Grand Bazaar, thousands of years old, but we saw the same old stuff: bronzes, T-shirts, silver, gold. And just try to find a bathroom. Another stop again was a "high pressure" luxury rug store. Like I'm going to throw a $2,000 rug over my shoulder and carry it on the bus. We were held there another hour plus. Going through the Blue Mosque was interesting and colorful. But I'm a daily jogger, and I hated the overwhelming and unrestricted smoking. Bottom line: Venice, beautiful if expensive. Athens, historic. Istanbul, filthy.
--Thomas R. Paquin
Pictured: Fatih Mosque in Istanbul