I Love Istanbul!
Istanbul is a Grand City like only a few in the world. It has the caché of a grand history, grand
buildings, and a grand people.
Approaching the city by sea is the perfect introduction to the city with
the spires of the Blue Mosque, the Suleiman Mosque and the Hagia Sophia
appearing over the ancient walls built by Constantine, the busy ferries and
tourist boats buzzing through the harbor, the Bosporus Bridge connecting the
continents of Europe and Asia, and the watchful eye of the Galatia Tower looking
over the commercial buildings of the Golden Horn. I love the recent trend of cruise lines to
overnight in departure and arrival ports like Istanbul. It gives you the opportunity to visit the
city without the hassle of packing, moving to a hotel, etc.
|Pera Palace Hotel Istanbul|
Coming back to a place you’ve been before is also fun. It feels like a visit to an old friend. You don’t have the anxiety of having to visit all the famous sites in double-quick time. We were greeted by a cold, drizzly rain on our arrival, so we hung about on the ship for a while hoping it would pass. Finally, we mustered the will to brave the weather. Our first stop was the Pera Palace Hotel, a Grand Building from the 19th century where Agatha Christie stayed when she wrote Murder on the Orient Express. They served one of the best hot chocolates I’ve ever eaten, and in Grand Style.
|Happy Turkish Restaurant Owner|
By the time we left, the sun was shining so we took a taxi to Sultanhamet, the old town, and made our way to the plaza between the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia. The plaza, which had been under construction when we were here last, was brilliant with tulips. The Turks are anxious for the world to know that it was Turkey who gave the tulip to the world, not Holland. After a brief visit to Hagia Sophia, which was not at its best with half of the interior filled with scaffolding and the other half filled with cruise ship tours, we found a great little restaurant with an enthusiastic Turkish owner and a delicious lamb kebab. Then back to the ship to pack.
Great trip! Time to go home!