Our cruise to Istanbul went through the Dardanelles . Many of the 700 Australians/New Zealanders onboard were up very early to watch the sun rise as we went through the Dardanelles - during which time the events Manager did an impressive and much appreciated presentation on the Anzacs at Gallipoli. A photo with the sun rising over Gallipoli was taken by John.
We then continued onto Istanbul where we did a tour of the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Market that afternoon/evening before heading back to the ship for dinner. We tried some turkish delight - nothing like we have at home at all and were told by our Tour Guide where to buy some - well $45EU later we have a large and heavy box full of all types of turkish delight - it's sealed so not opening it until we get home. But John bought a kilo of pistachios too....... he's certainly been into those - he loves them - cost about $12EU but there was a huge price range for them.
We got a bit confused between the Turkish lire and the Euro..... think we were ripped off too...
The next day
we did a full day starting early to do the Blue Mosque and the Topkapi Palace Museum.
Both were very impressive but was surprised that the Mosque catered for not only the Muslims, but also for Christians and Hindus with symbols for all 3 are on the Mosque walls and have been there for centuries. Out tour guide Erkan told us that the country is secularised which was great to see and hear - should be the same everywhere!
Going into the mosque - we had to queue and in the middle of some parts of the queue were a dog asleep and a cat just sitting there so we all had to walk around them - they certainly weren't about to move.
We took heaps of photos in the Mosque including Mosaics - which date back to the 12th & 13th century... getting a bit old... and falling apart but are slowly being restored. Sue - you would have loved them and have included photos just for you!
Kopkapi Palace Museum had the best views of the Asian section and European sections of Istanbul as well the Bhosporus - photos attached.
Inside the Palace
Museum were many artefacts in one area, jewellery in another - including massive gems on daggers and also an 86 carat diamond!!! Unable to take photos of it to show you but OMG it's massive!
Traffic in and around Istanbul is horrendous but a bit funny to watch how it all seems to work... people pull in their side mirrors so they don't lose them and park in weird and wonderful places.
John and I had a proper Turkish kebab for lunch and sat in a local park and ate it - of course cats came and sat at our feet waiting for crumbs - cats everywhere. We then went to an outside restaurant for a brandy and campari and just to sit and relax in a beautiful street in Istanbul and decided then that it was a great place to come back to one day and spend some more time there. One day we would like to do our own trip - with our stunt doubles, to Crete, Istanbul and Turkey where we can catch ferries across to wherever we want to go and spend a bit of time around these places.... maybe when we're all retired.
We also looked at some fantastic light fittings to go into our new outdoor area - well it's in the making... and will be done early next year but the lights were just beautiful and ideal for out there.
Back to the ship for a formal dinner , more photos and enjoying time with friends. Most of the Australians on board are from Adelaide so that makes life interesting as we all know Adelaide and people know others from there - a home away from home just about. Also some Brizzie people on here too.
We're really enjoying our trip and all that we're seeing and doing.
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