I don't know what I expected to see when we arrived this morning in Istanbul, but I can certainly say it's not what I saw! I knew it was a big city and I knew it has a population of over 13 million, but wow, this place is freakin' huge!!
We purchased tickets on a shuttle bus from the cruise line for $10 US which provided us transportation into and out of the Sultanahmet area. We could have walked it in about 45 minutes, each way, but it's stinkin' hot out there today.
Our first order of business was to get lost in the Grand Bazaar, a very easy feat as there are approximately 4500 stalls in the market. We MAY have seen 500. Kier found a very nice ring that he liked, and he might have ended up buying it too. Well, if the shop owner hadn't told him to leave and not come back! This fellow didn't realize that he'd met his match when it comes to haggling! Oh well, Kier didn't really need another ring!!
Then if was off to see something else besides the overly aggressive salesman of the Grand Bazaar! We walked further into the Sultanahmet area and looked at the Hagia Sofia which had a very long line to get in. A picture would do just fine there. From there we were off to the Blue Mosque. A picture would have to do there as well as there was an hour wait to get in. Some industrious young turks were trying to tell us it closed in 15 minutes, but they could get us in...yeah right...for a price! Admission is ordinarily free to the Mosque.
Tonight was the Istanbul Sunset Sensation on the top deck where most of the passengers enjoyed a beautiful sunset. Although very nice, Kier and I didn't feel it lived up to the advertisement as the highlight of our entire cruise. It was nice, but not THAT spectacular. Judge for yourself with the attached photo!
BTW, karma is alive and well in Istanbul...and for my comments in yesterday's blog about the woman having difficulty in the bus...well, karma's a bitch! I fell down the last step out of the shuttle bus today. Didn't break anything, but got a few bumps and bruises on my arm. Imagine if I was 80 something! Rest assured, if I was 80 something, I would have enjoyed Istanbul from the confines of the cruise ship!!