Sunday, May 09, 2010

Istanbul, Turkey

We have enjoyed two marvelous days in Istanbul taking in some of the highlights of this beautiful city. Istanbul is proud of the fact they exported the tulip to The Netherlands in the 1600's. Tulips were blooming everywhere we went, actually about one week past full bloom but still making the city look like one big garden. We visited The Ayasofya Museum, Blue Mosque, and Topkapi Sarayi (Sultan's Palace). All are spectacular.

Yesterday, Saturday, was a nightmare on the roads, it was very busy with traffic holdups everywhere we went. Today, Sunday, it was delightful out on the roads. The weather has been absolutely beautiful and it is lovely sitting here on the Waves Deck (at the stern of the ship) under a sun umbrella. It will be peaceful and quiet for a few hours. The major passenger changeover is in Istanbul. The Black Sea cruise ends and the Mediterranean Sea cruise begins when we sail at nine tonight. The last of the passengers disembarking have been called and now the arriving passengers will start to board. There are about 170 passengers from the Black Sea cruise continuing on to Harwich, London some of whom we have made cruise friends with.

Ayasofya Museum

The Ayasofya has beautiful golden mosaics exposed now that it is no longer a mosque. Ayasofya was built as a church, then became a mosque, and now it is a museum.

The Blue Mosque

The Blue Mosque is beautiful with the many domes, gold mosaics on the second level and the plush red carpet. It is not the exterior that gives the Mosque its name, it is the mosaics inside, they are stunning.

The Topkapi Palace

The Topkapi Palace has beautiful fragrant gardens, something is in bloom or blossom and it smells very sweet while walking around. The jewels of the Sultan are on display in the Treasury and the main exhibit, the Spoonmaker's Diamond, is a beautiful diamond surrounded by smaller diamonds it is 86 carats of gems .... a lot of bling. One passenger came up to me and said, "it (Topkapi Palace) is lovely but I think the gold gutters are a little OTT". (OTT - over the top.) The two of us decided the the Spoonmaker's Diamond would be too heavy to wear and well, really ... you could only wear it once (as once you wore it everybody would notice and then it would no longer be special).

Garry called Erçument today and he is not well so we have not have been able to "touch base" with him.

Tomorrow is a cruise day and on Tuesday we will be in Heraklion, Crete.


  1. Anonymous8:09 AM CDT

    Hi Luiza, Sounds like you have seen some really memorable "bling"! I know you will have some great photos to share later.

    Nothing much new here...still waiting for more biz...

    Too bad Ercu wasn't well and missed your visit. Maybe he will be better before you depart. If you see him, send my regards/hello/etc.

    Really enjoying your tour...Miss you lots, however. Love, Dawnie

  2. Hi Dawnie,

    Thanks for your comment. Yes, it was a shame Ercu was not well but at least GK spoke with him. It is a lot warmer now that we are further south. Meeting new passengers on our cruise day to Heraklion, Crete.

    Reiki coming your way :)