Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Cruise Before the Cruise...Istanbul Day 3

On our last day in Istanbul, we cruised the Bosphorus Strait with Lale’s husband, Kagan, as our guide. The Bosphorus Strait divides Istanbul into the two continents, Europe and Asia. After our cruise, we were heading to the ship to begin our Holy Land cruise.

We began recognizing most of the places on the signs, which was a good thing.

The walls of the Old City which we were leaving for the last time.

Dolmabahce Palace has been converted into a hotel. Originally, it served as the main administrative centre for the Ottoman Empire from 1856 to 1922. The reception room is rented for most of the year for weddings at $27,000 per night. Its lavish interior includes a crystal staircase!

The Ciragan Palace, originally an Ottoman palace, is now also a five-star hotel.

We didn’t realize that our cruise would only involve our group of 18. We weren't fighting for seating room!

A condo building…

This Ottoman fort, erected to control traffic on the Bosphorus, was built in 3 months in 1453!

Mosques with single minarets are usually built as private mosques for families. Imperial mosques would have two or more minarets.

It’s amazing how bridges were built over the old buildings.

The Bosphorus Strait with Europe on the left and Asia on the right.

This pink structure is a 500 year old wooden house under reconstruction. Bill Gates owns a home above it.

Several times Kagan told us that the value of a particular house was $65 million. It sort of became a joke because he said it several times. It seemed like all the houses were worth $65 million!

This house looked run down but would still sell for at least $10 million.

This was a private home owned by the President of Fiat.

The old and the new…

Kucuksu Palace was a summer residence used by Ottoman sultans for short stays for hunting and country excursions, indicating that this was once a rural area.

These two similar homes belong to one of the wealthiest families in Istanbul, who own most of the shopping centres, among other things.

A military high school which was established during the Ottoman empire…

And our river cruise ended. This was our ferry...lots of room for 18 people!

We noticed many of these parks with exercise equipment in them. Jeff is getting ready for ski season.

Jim and Kim on the Bosphorus Strait…

More dogs!

I don’t know how they manoeuvred these boats out of this tiny marina…

It was an important holiday in Istanbul, the Feast of the Sacrifice. Supposedly no restaurants were open and this family agreed to open for us, but we noticed many restaurants around that were serving customers.

Our group getting ready to eat…again!

Kagan explaining some of the items to us. It was very good.

Ann Thompson, who organized many of our private tours, and her father, Fred, who is 90 years young!

These men were very involved in a serious game similar to backgammon.

After lunch, we headed out for a tour of the area. Without warning (I think Kagan was hoping we wouldn’t notice), we came upon these tents.

We weren’t quite prepared to come upon the site for the sacrifice of the animals. It was a little unsettling. I believe these might be sheep innards.

We arrived at this lookout where we spent a few minutes walking around. Because it was a holiday, there were many families enjoying the view and having picnics.

Jim and Kim with Istanbul in the background.

It was a beautiful park.

Cotton candy, Turkish style!

A Turkish stop sign…

A flower nursery and a worker keeping the street tidy. Istanbul is very clean.

We arrived at our last stop of the day, another lookout.

This body of water is referred to as the Golden Horn

We needed our sunglasses. It was such a beautiful day!

Our cruising friends, Jeff and Kathy from Lake Tahoe…

And we made it to the cruise ship! We were on the Celebrity Constellation, our first cruise on a line other than Princess. This mosque was the view from our cabin.

Although it was the end of the cruise ship season, there were lots of ships in the port that day. From now on, they would have maybe one ship a day. That’s a lot by our standards!

Farewell, Istanbul. We had a fantastic time and would love to return!

Our first formal night on board…

With Jeff and Kathy at the show in the theatre…

Tomorrow, we are ready for a tour to Ephesus…

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