April 5, 2012
On April 5, 2012 we started to enter the Bosporus, at 10:30 AM, from the Sea of Marmara and had our first glimpse of Istanbul. The weather was hazy and over cast but the shoreline soon became visible and the views of The Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia & Topkapi Palace were magnificent. We sailed past them on our way to a three day stay.
Our first afternoon we went to the New District in Istanbul, which lies above the port. To get there we took a tram called “Tünel” to the top and the main pedestrian street call Istiklal Street. We proceeded to Taksim Square at the end of the street, enjoyed a Döner Kebab for lunch and wandered back to the ship.
The second day we crossed Galata Bridge over the Golden Horn. We took in the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, and Topkapi Palace exteriors. On our way back from Topkapi, we found the Mausoleums of Hagia Sophia and entered 5 different ones. After lunch we saw the Hippodrome, a roman chariot racetrack, with the Egyptian Obelisk of Theodosius. On day three, we took the ship’s shuttle to the Grand Bazaar, and then walked through the Bazaar and down the hill to the Suleyman the Magnificent Mosque. We explored the mosque inside and out.
We then stopped for a tea and watched the assembly of the Döner Kebab spit. We continued down the hill through the crowded and narrow streets to the Spice Market and Eminönü Square. After a short break we crossed the Galata Bridge past the many fisherman, then took the tram back to the ship.