December 8, 1961 – Turkey

Istanbul Hilton Hotel, Istanbul, Turkey – Cloudy

     We had an early breakfast before leaving for our tour of Istanbul.  The food in our hotel turned out to be superior and I was glad I could have a good meal before heading out for the day.

     We started our excursion today by traversing the Galata Bridge which connected the old city with the new one.  I found it interesting that Istanbul was actually split up and on two separate continents.  After crossing the bridge we boarded a ferry that took us up the Bosporus from the Sea of Marmora to the Entrance of the Black Sea where we could see Turkey from the European as well as the Asiatic side.  On our trip we didn’t see any bridges for over twenty three miles straight.  The ride afforded us some wonderful views of the country and gave us a chance to see various famous landmarks.  We passed the Dolmabache Palace which was reported to have 300 rooms and none of them used very often.  Then we saw the Ortakoy Mosque and an old fortress built by Melmed, the conqueror.  Also along the way we passed numerous summer residences along the shore built by the elite. 

Bosphorus Black Sea

Bosphorus in Turkey

     We stopped for lunch at the Liman Lokantasi Restaurant and it had the best food.  I had baklava, honey and nut cake and several other delightful dishes.  By the time I had finished eating I wished I could go take a nap.

Ethel at Cafe

     After lunch we traveled by bus to the Sultan Akmet Mosque and were fortunate to have the chance to watch to see a service that was going on at the time.  I loved listening to the muezzins up high in the minaret calling their faithful to prayer.  The mosque had gotten the nick name of “Blue Mosque” because of the bluish reflections of light that could be seen on the blue tiles on the interior walls.  The mosque had great quantities of marble and mosaic tile work just like we’d seen on most of the other ancient buildings we had seen so far.

Blue Mosque in Istanbul

     We also made a stop at Saint Sophia, a stupendous building of Turkish architecture that Emperor Justinian had built in 532 AD.  Originally it had been meant to be a basilica for the Eastern Church and it served as a mosque until 1935 when it became a museum.  I really enjoyed seeing it.

Obelisks in Istanbul

St Sofia in Istanbul

     After leaving St Sophia we were dropped off at a market bazaar where we were allowed some free time to wander through shops.  Under one roof in the bazaar there were 5000 stores.  Every time I’d had a chance to shop I had tried and tried to find a gold bracelet but as yet had no luck so I tried again in the bazaar.  I got excited when I found one that I liked but when I saw that it was even more expensive than the one I had passed up earlier in the trip I was very disappointed.  I decided against getting this one too since I was so short of money. 

     We returned to the hotel and had a very tasty dinner.  During our meal Edith and I were sad because we had to say good bye to Ethel who was leaving the tour to return home after we ate.  She hadn’t signed up for the same length of touring that we had.  I was going to miss her because she had turned out to be such a good traveling companion. 

     I didn’t realize I was as tired as I was until after I was finished eating.  I had trouble keeping my eyes open. When I got up to leave the table I gave Ethel a kiss good bye and told her not to forget to write me.  We’d exchanged addresses earlier because I wanted to stay in touch with her going forward.

     I left Edith with the others to visit with Ethel before she left for the airport and I returned to our room.  I was in bed beginning to doze off when Edith finally returned to our room.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Patrick S Poplin
    Dec 08, 2010 @ 23:53:02

    Ahh!! Baklava! Mediterranean culture’s contribution to the desserts of world cuisine! Nuts, seeds, bread and honey. All natural, good for you on the whole, and tastes great!


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