Monday, 20 May 2013

Med Cruise - Istanbul (4)

We were warned that the best part of our stop in Istanbul was the arrival at Istanbul, not to be missed, and it turned out to be quite a sight. The view of the city and its division between Europe and Asia is quite a sight. And to add to the fun the captain announced "Dolphin watch on left and right of ship". With the magnificent Istanbul and its mosques and minarets in full view, what appeared to be a hundred dolphins welcomed us, all jumping out of the water and swimming along with the ship.

Santa Sofia

 Topkapi Palace                                                

We had decided that with a limited time at our disposal it was probably best to take a city tour excursion instead of doing everything ourselves. Turned out once again to be a good strategy, as there were long queues at the Santa Sofia, the Blue Mosque and the  Topkapi Palace, and the excursions had special entrances which bypassed the queues. Later we learnt that those who tried to do it yourself, did not have time to enter the terrific buildings.

        Blue Mosque

It all turned out to be fantastic, and we were not disappointed.
About 500 passengers had opted for our excursion, so about 15 busses were arranged, with a lot of organisation of passengers and guides. We were number 5. Off we went and in about 8 hours we had seen the main attractions, been given lunch at a restaurant at the Topkapi Palace with very nice views over the city and no queuing except at the blue mosque where we had to wait a few minutes. While we waited a group of girls wanted to have a picture taken with me! Naturally I had no objection!

Blue Mosque

The Grand Bazaar

The monuments are truely exceptional, even though the number of tourists is frightening and everywhere all you see are people. Fortunately most of the beautty is up in the domes and the ceilings and coloured glass windows.
One needs several days to do justice to Istanbul, however we could not have done more with the eight hours we had.
Once again back to the ship, the usual routine and next stop Mykonos back in Greece..

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