Cruising the Dardanelles

Day whatever? Cruising with no shore excursion gives a chance to rest, but more opportunity to eat and drink too much.

7:30am saw me on an exercise bike in the gym for, (the first time, and a little much needed 30-minute workout.

The weath20160422_090740 (2)er continues to be kind to us and when pulling back the curtains this morning the sun is blinding, which means we are sailing generally southwards along the Turkish coast; destination Rhodes tomorrow morning. A check on the “location app” on our big screen confirms that we are in fact sailing southwest (203.12o) at 12 knots.

Yesterday was our Best of Istanbul 8-hour excursion around the old city. This little town, now with some 15 million inhabitants, has had a long and chequered history. It played a significant role in the history of Christianity from the Roman times of Emperor Constantine and then was the capital for the Ottoman empire when a hereditary line of 36 sultans ruled for over 400 years. Turkey today is a modern secular society in which the separation of religion (Islam) from government appears to provide a good model in a country that spans Europe and Asia, western and middle eastern, cultures.

P1050379 (2)Our city tour was another history lesson starting at the ancient Egyptian obelisk in the Hippodrome. It continued to the Blue Mosque and St Sophia museum, which started life as the biggest church in the world, before being converted into a mosque and finally to the current museum. Then on to the Topkapi Palace sitting within 70 acres majestically overlooking the Bosphorus and the city, with its Moslem and Christian relics and jewels showing another side of the history of the region. Our last stop was the Grand Bazaar where every type of clothing, jewellery and souvenirs are available and bargaining is compulsory.

Our tour guide on the bus was a quite lovely lady who said we could call her Ashley. She ensured that we were organised, well informed about all the historic points of interest along the way and where the best photos could be taken. We learned that it was a poor tourist season in Istanbul with numbers way down, for rather obvious reasons. We also learned later that, unknown to us, we had additional security personnel following our tour bus to keep an eye on our safety. A Holland America line initiative.

From my deck chair, the sun has almost completely retreated west over the ship so it must be lunchtime. The day is still wonderfully sunny. The one metre swell with its occasional white tops does nothing to disturb the calmness of the ship’s passage and the fresh salty air is both relaxing and invigorating in the soft breeze.

6 thoughts on “Cruising the Dardanelles

  1. Hi Dad and Mum! Sorry but I only just logged in now to read all your posts! (I blame the Manila internet – I tried to log on the other day and the page just wouldn’t load… Grr) It sounds like you are having a brilliant time. Loving the history lesson Dad!! Keep them coming. Love the pics too. Stay safe! Lots of love, Steph and Alex xxx

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  2. This sounds like you’re all having the most wonderful time. Really enjoying reading you posts, Mr Morrison. Please take a deep breath of that fresh salty air for Steph and I.

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