Entry 12, the great Greek goes to Turkey
Today up early and watched us arrive in the port in Istanbul. What a sight! This is the largest city in Europe. The last few days were so hot so planning what to wear seemed easy, and ensure covering for shoulders and head. We gathered our cameras and money to exchange as this is Turkey and we have an excursion booked. Up for breakfast at the lido deck, egg white omelet and crispy bacon. The clouds look like we might have some cooler weather so we change clothes.
We are advised we may have rain. I don’t have my hat or hood on my jacket that I brought. I put a scarf round my neck and wonder how cool it might get. I had no idea. It rained buckets on me! Eventually I purchased a lovely clear see through umbrella to keep me out of the elements a bit but I was soaked and chilled.
We boarded the Mercedes Benz bus and headed out to see the hippodrome lwhich is second largest only to the one in Rome. 7 times longer than a football field. Wow … Few monuments in the center, one made from the shields and swords from conquering the Persions. The 3 headed snake was woven in 3 snakes. The heads are scattered, one in Turkey museum and one in London museum and one went missing. One of the monuments, the obilisk that came from Egypt had depictions carved in marble of how it was raised so many centuries ago.
We walked to the Blue Mosque and took our shoes off before entering, women covering their heads. By this time we were donning our umbrellas and workIng our way through the crowds. Breathtaking blue tiles adorned the walls. Lovely mosque.
After we walked a way to the St Sophia, we were in the presence of the largest and most copied mosque. Our guide told story after story for our enjoyment. He obviously lived and breathed this very special place and the history. He suggested we watch the 47 minute National Geographic study on how the building was constructed.
Then back to the bus for a ride to the Grand Bazaar. I was very nervous at first to be set free on a marketplace of over 4,000 stores. Penny, being the great friend she is, stayed close by and said things that comforted me until I could relax. We ended up staying for several hours. We saw carpets, jewellery, fabric, beads for making jewellery, leather goods, light fixtures, ceramic and scarves, silk and wool. Hats and shoes /slippers. Every store clerk trying for our attention and dollars. Great sense of humor and many laughs were had. Crazy, chaotic and marvelous. The choices overwhelming and helped me keep a tight hold on my money!
We found a few Starbucks and few brand name eat joints. We walked down toward the sea and then spied our ship. We passed over a bridge, followed a tram, cars bumper to bumper. No one paid attention to passenger cross walks. Our guide advised us not to take a taxi as they are sure to get lost in traffic and it taking hours to get to where we are headed. We were unable to find a liquor store and decided to search out some after we have some food. It has been a long since breakfast.
Quick change and off to dinner then walked out to the wild dark streets of Istanbul in search of a bottle of wine for the stateroom and the day at sea. We stop and ask people but alas, they did not understand our request. Then we spied a small restaurant and saw they sold beer. We had a chat and finally negotiated to use USD and got what we came for. Back through security and to the ship for the evening.
We made pedicure appointments for tomorrow sea day. We also reviewed the activities for tomorrow, some enrichment activities to be followed by formal night and a masked ball! This will be our only sea day on this cruise. We have great stops yet to come. Penny is keeping a diary and is able to capture the details of the history we have learned.
It seems my blog is more emotional stories?.
Wish you were here.
Love love love