Day 6 Friday May 31
Wow, what a busy day. I am just starting this at 7:15 pm as I wait for the rest to show up for supper. Our tour (not from the cruise company) was scheduled to pick us up at 9 am. I had to get up about 7:15 (poor little me) in order to shower, get ready and eat breakfast in time. Every time you get off the ship they scan you SeaPass/room card. On the dock we had to show our pass and id to the Turkish security types and have our bags scanned. We are docked on what might be called the NW side of Istanbul; on the western (or European) side of the Bosporus and north of the Golden Horn River that bisects the city.
We were on a small van with people from Canada & Brazil; a total of 12 plus the guide & driver. Our guide looked about 25. He is a professional guide and a college student majoring in history. He was very knowledgeable, but walked way too fast; especially for an old lady.
We saw Topkapi Palace, Haiga Sofia, The Hippodrome, had lunch, then went into the Blue Mosque. The rotten battery on my new camera quit at the Topkapi. It is some dumb specialty size that Nikon makes. It’s good that I can copy the other’s pictures. Lunch was good, salad, chicken kabobs that had been cooked out on a grill, & baklava. After the mosque our guide said, “This way” and we all blindly followed! We thought we were of for a few blocks to another sight. Instead it was a 15 minute walk up steep narrow streets and around and about until we arrived at the Grand Bazaar. He gave us an hour to shop. That was like showing you Smaug’s treasure and saying, “Pick one thing.”
We barely saw the tip of it. It wasn’t at all like I expected. It was inside with stone floors and a jumble of shops. Like everything else in Istanbul, it ran up and down the hill.
We started back to the ship about 5:20 and hit a huge traffic jam and finally arrived about 7:15. We had to reverse our trip through security – on the dock, baggage and Seapass scanned, up the gangway into the ship where your Seapass is scanned first and then your baggage.
We met at 7:15 for dinner and then all went our separate ways. I’m pooped!
As I finish, I am sitting on the stern looking out at the night lights of Istanbul. It’s beautiful. All the mosques are lit up and there are lots of lights along the shore. It is a clear night with some high clouds and all the city lights just glow. The temperature is 73F with winds at 9 kts out of the SW; barometer is 29.725 inHg.
It’s 10:30 pm and tomorrow is another early day….lights out.