Monday, June 29, 2009

Istanbul Bosphorus cruise

After a good night's rest, we were ready for today's programme. Most of us had jet lag as we woke up much earlier than we should. Breakfast was good at the Crowne Plaza, after all it is a 5-star hotel.

We had our mandatory Bosphorus cruise this morning as this is a must for all visitors to Istanbul and I was pleasantly surprise that it was a private cruise along the Bosphorus as we had the whole ship/boat to our tour group. Unfortunately, the weather was not so good as it was gloomy throughout the cruise and rather chilly with the wind. Well, it is one of those things that I dreaded whenever on holiday: lousy weather. Even the photos turned out gloomy.

The Galata bridge with many seafood restaurants.

The New Mosque dominates the Eminonu ferry terminal.

The Dolmabache Palace on the Bosphorus

One of the many hotels, restaurants and clubs along the Bosphorus

The Bosphorus Straits is famous because it separates Asia from Europe and links the Black Sea to the Mediterranean via the Sea of Marmara. Below is one of the two bridges that links Asia to Europe across the Boshphorus while a third bridge is under construction.

The next stop was Topkapi Palace. Luckily the weather improved as we approached lunch time. Here we viewed the legendary Spoonmaker's Diamond, so called because it was sold for three spoons by the finder of this lost diamond. We also saw the mantle and hair from the beard of prophet Mohammed in one of the pavilions.

The entrance gate to Topkapi Palace

The Throne Room

The Harem (?)

One of the pavilions

View of the Bosphorus from Topkapi Palace

After lunch we went on our way to Canakkale, passing Gallipoli (from a distance). We had to take a ferry across the Dardanelles to reach Canakkale on the Asian side of Turkey. We stayed the night at Iris Hotel which faces the Aegean Sea with promise of a romantic sunset but unfortunately the sun was obscured by the clouds. Sigh.

Ronald Kwok

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