Day 30, 26 April 2009
I took the ship’s morning tour of Istanbul that included Sultanahmet Camii (Blue Mosque) and Topkapi Palace (including the Topkapi dagger and a 63-carat diamond). I could have spent all day at the palace.
That afternoon I walked to bigger mosque called Suleymaniye Camii built in 1550 – most of it was closed for renovation. Then a walk around the edge of the bazaar (Grand Bazaar closed Sunday) – still a lot of shops were open.
That night a group of us caught the tram to Sultanahmet to have a real Turkish dinner. Very nice.
Excellent day – great city
Day 31, 27 April 2009
The trams are great so another trip on the tram and a wandered around the back streets looking for a recommended Turkish bath house. On these travels had my hair cut (by a master of the art) and an hour at an Internet Café (hasn’t been Internet on the ship for about a week).
I finally stumbled across the Turkish Bath house (Gedikpasa Hamami) as I was heading back towards the tourist area. What an experience! It’s up there with a hot rocks massage. This hamami was very old being built in 1475.
Then a wander through the Grand Bazaar with over 4,000 shops it’s very easy to get lost.
Back to the ship and it’s up the Bosporus into the Black Sea. It’s the Bosporus and the Dardanelles that separate Europe from Asia Minor. The Bosporus being only 36km long and a minimum width of 660m, the Bosporus was a wonderful sight as the sun set.