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2008 Black Sea Melodies (see the photos)

We did not dock until after lunch because another ship was in our spot so, by the time we got ashore and made our way to the Topkapi Palace (which was high on our agenda), it was too late to go in and have a good look (it shut at 4.30). The next day (we were overnight here) the Palace was shut. Another example of bad planning by Fred Olsen on this cruise, I'm quite sure they choose "bad" days to be at certain places because it's cheaper to dock then! Anyway, we had a walk around on the first day - we were booked on a trip on the second.
First stop was the site of the Hippodrome then walked the few hundred metres to the Blue Mosque (which isn't very blue!). Had to remove our shoes (of course) to enter the Mosque (which is, apparently, the 4th. largest in the World). There was scaffolding obscuring the centre of the Mosque (this had, apparently, been there for 10 years) but it didn't stop the experience being very worthwhile. Next, to Hagia Sophia (now a museum). After that we were dropped off at the Grand Bazaar (after, of course, a carpet demonstration - beautiful but very expensive). To be honest the Bazaar was all a bit samey, mostly gold and jewellery which (I'm pleased to say) Edna isn't in to! Edna showed an interest in a multi-coloured leather bag at one place but when I said it didn't look right the shop owner turned quite nasty and said some very disparaging things about the British. Needless to say we didn't buy anything. Back to the ship for a late lunch.

After lunch we took another walk into the City to go to the Railway Station that was the Orient Express terminus. We saw it yesterday but hadn't explored it. There was a small museum there which was all very interesting (although nearly everything was in Turkish). It was quite a long walk so we were shattered by the time we got back to the ship and flaked out!

2014 Saga Pearl II

Needless to say we booked a trip to the Topkapi Palace, we were not disappointed. Our guide was excellent although she didn't come into the various sections with us to give a chat on what we were seeing but just told us (in the courtyard) what we would see. Her knowledge of the history was, however, first class and, although I don't remember too much of it now, it was interesting at the time!

2015 Saga Sapphire Gallipoli

Overnight again this cruise. I awoke on the first day with, as Edna puts it in her journal, "one of my throats". This meant I sounded awful and felt far from well. Lots of people on this cruise suffered from bad coughs which, in many cases, lasted for weeks but I knew (or hoped) that mine would disappear in a few days. We stayed on board (especially as it was raining).
Sunny but far from warm. I can't believe how cold it's been on this cruise. Istanbul in late April shouldn't be 10 degrees surely? Anyway, we decided to spend another day on board.

Police Station in Istanbul

Istanbul Police Station





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