Monday, September 28, 2015


After Lake Como, we returned to Milan for one night then caught a flight to Istanbul where we had 4 days to explore before boarding a Celebrity Cruise ship located on the north side of Galata Bridge. Istanbul, with more than 14 million people and 12 million visitors annually, is a busy crowded aggressive city where vehicles speed pass within inches, hawkers perched on storefronts solicit your business, and chaotic crowds converge. Kay and I arrived just before the weekend during a traditional 4 day holiday, the Sacrifice Feast, so the crowds were heavier than normal, particularly on Saturday and Sunday. We visited the mosques, palaces, and museums; ate on the streets; browsed their colorful stores and markets places; used their crowded trams and ferries; and wandered Istanbul's neighborhoods on both the European and Asian continents. The hectic pace and endless street activity of this lively city often reminded us of Hong Kong. It's a constant hustle from the busiest streets to the narrow crowded hidden walkways and corridors. The people are friendly, but business comes first. Love it or not, once you visit Istanbul, you won't forget it. This is the first Islamic country we have visited and hopefully it won't be the last.

The Blue Mosque above and below.

From the Galata Bridge area.

Busy Istiklal Street in the Taksim area above and below.

Galata Bridge above and below

After sunset

Busy waterfront on a Saturday evening

Blue Mosque below

Visiting the Basilica Cistern below

Cruising the Bosphorus River above and below.

Meeting up with friends who are joining us on the cruise.

Kay and Pam at the Grand Bazaar

Dining out

Suleymaniye Mosque above and below

Spice Market above and below.

Topkapi Palace of the Sultans above and below

Visiting Hagia Sophia below, an ancient mosque now a museum.

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