Greg, Ewen & Jenelle set off from Melbourne last Thursday (21/8/14) with a minimum of drama (only missing the SD card from a camera, quickly rectified in duty free). Greg missed the best entertainment of the trip, slept through a spectacular thunderstorm which lit up the clouds below us. Our flight to Istanbul took us well east of Baghdad & Erbil, and flew into Istanbul from the east.
It would seem the drivers here like to entertain themselves taking the tourists on hair-raising rides around the narrow and convoluted streets of Sultanahmet. Still it was a very comfy ride and a good introduction to Istanbul.
Stunning view from our room of the ships in the sea south of Istanbul, one could do a “Monet “ on light effects on this scene.
Compass in hand we took to the streets to locate the main attraction. Istanbul is a bit like China with people touting for business, Not “watch & bag”, but “you like carpet”.
No trouble finding a place for dinner and discovered beers come in all sizes (mines the little one).
Saturday morning we ventured further afield to the archaeological museum and the tiled kiosk.
Guided tour (after lunch) began with a bus ride around the Hippodrome, Blue mosque to Aya sofia,
Aya sofia very dark inside, variety of marble walls, golden frescoes, (Mary on the ceiling)spent ages trying to get a decent picture, climbed to part where women worship, sultan’s wife special black marble area,
Basilica cistern, amazing architecture, lots of mood lighting, recycled columns acquired from various cathedrals. Very interesting concrete ones under the tram stop.
Carpet – the less said about that the better,then off to the Grand Bazaar, excellent turkish delight (Greg succumbed with a lot of encouragement), 65 streets and 4000+ shops
We needed a rest after this very busy day.
Good weather for our trip up the Bosphorus. Climbed to the top of the castle and enjoyed the view back towards Istanbul from the café below. Made an urgent request to Bruce (now in duty free at Tullamarine to stock up on some Honey Macadamias)
Indulged ourselves with dinner at fish restaurant overlooking Marmara Sea, took the waiters recommendations, octopus, calamari, sea bass, excellent wine, salad with pomegranate jus. The ice cream with parsley decoration. (Junior chef just learning) Perhaps downmarket for the next few days.
Final day in Istanbul, took a chance in getting into Blue Mosque. Suitably attired and minus shoes. Very beautiful inside photos don’t do it justice.
Also fitted in a trip to the Science and Technology Museum, a different slant on the history of science. Lots of copies of instruments. Originals held in museums overseas.
At this point we waited in the shade of the chestnut trees for Bruce. Rendezvous completed after a couple of texts and a brief radio call. [Bruce: Actually Bruce was a few minutes late, due to a very slow baggage retrieval at Ataturk airport, and perhaps because he may have even delayed departure from Adu Dhabi to to a bit of a kerfuffle with the handheld transceiver in his hand baggage. A call to Etihad before departure assured him that all was well with carrying it, but those in Abu Dhabi differed in opinion. Bruce’s backpack had to retrospectively be checked into the hold, just to contain the highly suspect radio ! I managed to grab a few things for the flight in a plastic bag.] His 3 hour tour of Istanbul consisted of tram and funicular to the Galata Tower for a view of Istanbul, a quick walk to the Spice Bazaar (jam packed with people – couldn’t wait to get out of it), 20 minute dinner and back to our hotel for a transfer to the airport.
Apologies for the out of order photos. It is getting late and not organised for tomorrow’s activities. J