It Ain’t Nobody’s Business But the Turks

Location: Istanbul, Turkey

Today was the last day of our first cruise. But since we are cruising back-to-back we didn’t have to do much except for getting ourselves new cards for the next cruise. In all it took less than a few minutes. The real problem came when we tried to leave the cruise terminal. Istanbul is the only cruise terminal in the world which requires passengers to scan their cards in to and out of the terminal. This prevented the 100 of us with new cards from being able to leave the terminal. It took awhile for the port to get their act together. We were 30 min late for our tour. Hooray for Turkish bureaucracy!

We had another tour with Deniz today. Our first stop, to try to beat the crowds to the Blue Mosque. The inside of the mosque is beautiful with mosaic tiles lining the walls and ceilings. Deniz carefully explained the art and history of the mosque during our visit. Just as we were about to leave though, a prolonged heavy thunderstorm passed through. We didn’t leave the mosque, but instead found a quiet area to sit down. Deniz passed the time with more history of the area and some primer on the Hagia Sophia.

The Blue Mosque
The Blue Mosque
Inside the Blue Mosque
Inside the Blue Mosque
Inside the Blue Mosque
Inside the Blue Mosque
Waiting for the storm to pass.
Waiting for the storm to pass.

When the rain storm calmed down we left the Blue Mosque and travelled to the Grand Bazaar. There, the cats went shopping for tiles and jewelry. Ryan used his world-renowned mastery of haggling to shave a few bucks off buying souvenir magnets. It takes skills to get a merchant to give you back money after you’ve already handed him the cash.

We ate lunch at an upscale turkish restaurant. We all enjoyed the desserts. Leigh and Barry drank strong dark turkish coffee.They’ll fall asleep eventually…

After lunch we went to the Hagia Sophia Museum. It was a historic Byzantine cathedral which was converted into a mosque when the Ottomans took over, and then became a museum when the Turkish Republic was established. It was quite the sight to behold.

The entire groupin front of Hagia Sophia.
The entire groupin front of Hagia Sophia.
Inside Hagia Sofia
Inside Hagia Sofia
Looking up!
Looking up!

Afterwards, we and the male cats went across the street to have our pictures taken next to the milestone. This marker was the center of the entire Roman Empire travel network. Then we went down to the cistern. This is where the city’s water supply was held for over a thousand years. It was made of recycled materials from pagan temples.

The Milestone
The Milestone
The Cistern
The Cistern
The Cistern
The Cistern

Our last stop was the spice market. Some members of the group bought more desserts here.

This was our last stop in Turkey. We then reboarded the ship as part of a “new” cruise.
Istanbul was also the furthest point east on this trip (or for either of us ever).

Tomorrow we anchor in Mykonos, Greece. We arrive at 1:00 so we get to sleep in. It is also only the second day of the trip where we don’t have a tour planned. We plan to relax in town or on the beach.

Total steps: 14,494

Total pictures taken so far: 4973

Total times Rachel got out of a hot tub without injuring herself: 7 (out of 7 attempts)

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