We were up early so we could get on the bus and start our tour of Istanbul.  We got on the bus, the tour guide introduced herself and off we went- only to sit in gridlock traffic.  The traffic is worse here than in Rome when the Metro was on strike.  However we made it to the first stop the Hagia Sophia.  It looked better in pictures than it does in person. There is a great deal of restoration going on, but it really is in a state of disrepair.  We had a photo op because we stopped between the blue mosque and the Hagia Sophia and the park between them is quite nice.  After the Hahia Sophia we went to the underground cistern.  That was really impressive.  Then off to Topkapi Palace.  We could have waited in a long line to see the 86 carat diamond, but we had to be at the restaurant for lunch at noon. The decision was made that we could be on our own for a half hour at the palace and then go to lunch.  Shirley and I went to the meeting room and the clock room(no pics).  The clock  room was impressive.  I wish the signs had been a bit  more descriptive, but the clocks and watches were well worth seeing,  We then stood in a long line for the treasury to see the diamond and the Topkapi dagger. I took pictures even though they weren’t allowed. Then we went to the ancient Hoppodromr which is just a ruin.  Then off we went to the spice market.  It is like a flea market, but offers samples like Sam’s Club.  I bought a few dates, figs and sundried apricots.  Because traffic was so bad we walked to our boat for a cruise on the Bodphorus.  It was a nice boat ride that really gave us a broad view of Istanbul.

We returned to the ship just in time for dinner.  So of course we went and ate.  The ship was having a belly dancing show poolside at 9pm.  We went to see the show.  The show was great but the temperature started out chilly and went to cold.  Shirley went to the room, but I stayed until the end and then went to a lounge to hear karaoke.  I left at midnight because we have to be up very early for the rest of our Istanbul tour.

There is no wifi on the ship and shore connections are nonexistent or just not good. I can’t upload any pictures and have difficulty sending any part of the blog.

entre at restaurant

More views of Bosphorous  Istanbul from ship at night