Our next stop in Turkey was the famous city of Istanbul. We had read that the sail into the port was one of the most beautiful in the world so we were up early for our arrival. The morning was cloudy but it was still an impressive sight.
We had booked an excursion here. Istanbul has a population of 16 million which is 19% of the population of Turkey. It is the largest city in Turkey and straddles the Bosphorus Strait, causing it to lie in both Europe and Asia. Istanbul is the most populous European city and the world’s 15th largest city. As to be expected, it has terrible traffic which we experienced throughout the day.
The first place we went was a mosque. We were required to remove our shoes and the ladies all had to cover their heads with a scarf.
Next was a spice market which is misleading because much more was sold there than just spices. We were given an hour to shop and Bill and I went in search of a second umbrella and a tee shirt. We knew ahead of time the Hard Rock Cafe here had closed permanently. We would have never found it in this massive city anyway. Bill managed to find a shirt he liked. Amazingly, we also found an umbrella.
Stuck in traffic, it took awhile to reach our lunch destination at a Turkish restaurant. One of the couples from our nightly dinners were also on this excursion and we had an enjoyable Turkish lunch.
Next was a two hour narrated harbor cruise on a ferry boat. It was nice to see Istanbul by land and sea.
Since our ship did not leave port until 11:00 that evening, we had time to enjoy the lights of the city at night. We felt the real vibes of the city as we stood on deck and listened to the loud calls to prayer being broadcast throughout the city as we watched the twinkling lights shining on the water.
A great day in Istanbul.
Next up: Corfu, Greece