18 Nov – Our last day in Istanbul

The time here has gone by way too quickly. We sailed away about an hour ago under a sunny sky! Can’t believe the weather! 

Yesterday morning we went to the Grand Bazaar! It is the biggest covered market in the world and has been in existence since – 1461. A multitude of shops crowd together along narrow lanes under decorated archways stretching further than the eye can see. Unlike a modern shopping mall, the lanes between shops are sometimes sloped and slightly curved as they comply with the lay of the land. Even for a person who doesn’t love shopping as I do – it’s a fascinating place to visit due to the incredible assortment of items for sale and all the vivid colours! None of you may believe this, but I bought nothing! I wanted to – but as this is the start of this trip, decided to wait until my return next fall to succumb! (Pat and Jan – you may have to help me exercise self control!) There are just so many eye catching treasures!

We boarded our very pretty ship – the Viking Star – Norwegian registery – yesterday afternoon. The rest of the day was spent exploring the assortment of pools (three), spa, excessive room, saunas, snow room (yes a small room filled with snow), lounges (numerous), atrium, library, theatre, museum, restaurants (four), outside decks (many). Ultra modern Scandinavian decor. Comfortable state room. Not too roomy but with desk, two comfortable chairs, and coffee table as well as down covered beds! Spacious private balcony with table and chairs. Bar fridge from which there is more than ample free drinks supplied daily.  The head is spacious. Service – excellent. Good quality wine and beer is  included with meals. Meals – well we’ve only had three so far and they have been outstanding. Passengers are allowed to bring their own alcohol on board, so our fridge is rather well stocked at the moment thanks to the duty free at the port.

This morning we took a Viking included tour. A bus ride around the old city. A visit to a small but delightful mosque tucked away within a busy market. A real gem I’d never have discovered other wise. Got a free Quran from there. Translated into English for my futur reading pleasure. Next up a boat trip part way up the Bosphorus. Europe on our left and Asia to the right. (Until we turned around and headed back of course.) the shore lined with palaces built by the Ottomans and insanely expensive properties belonging to the rich and famous. 

I loath group tours. Awful. But this squeezed by within acceptable limits due in large part to an excellent guide who regailed us with numerous interesting historical and cultural facts. Also we each carry a little receiver with ear piece so can stray away, take pictures, and not have to stand around craning to see and hear within a mass of people. This particular guide had a good read on her audience too so kept things moving along. I don’t think anyone got bored. Viking also divides everyone into fairly manageable groups of about 30 people…… It was bareable but only just! We’ll see how I feel after a few more excursions. 

And now as I’ve said, we’re sailing away into a lovely orange sunset, though the Marmara sea. Next stop Ephases. Will send this now and add some pictures shortly. Dad is anxious I go check our laundry – yup – washers and dryers and ironing boards – for our domestic bliss.

One thought on “18 Nov – Our last day in Istanbul

  1. The ship sounds lovely from your description. Enjoy the cruise. We leave tomorrow morning and I shall be glad to get away from all the micro-organizing we seem to be doing at present. Thanks for your helpful response about Heathrow.

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