Istanbul, Day 1

Over night we travelled from Kusadasi, to Istanbul.  As we approached Istanbul, it was impressive to see how much marine activity there was.  Ships were moving everywhere.  We could see the land is supporting a signifigant population along the shore lines.

We had not realized that Istanbul is such a large city.  It's population is about 12.5 million.


From the Ship's Daily Patter

Welcome to Istanbul
Be sure to be out on the deck as the shores of Turkey are sighted over the ship's bow.  Other than Venice, there are few cities that make a more dazzling impression when approaching from sea.  A dreamlike vision of domes and minarets shimmers on the horizon and, as you glide into the harbour, the legendary city of Istanbul slowly fills up half the sky.

For sheer excitement, energy, mystery and marvels, no place on earth can outdo Istanbul.  The city is famous for crossroads.  The influence of Asia and Europe, the religion of Christians and Moslems,, and the culture of Turks, Persians and Orientals have all found their way into the daily life of this bustling metropolis.

From the kaleidoscope of street scenes to the serenity of the surrounding waters, from the ancient empires to the timelessness of hand-crafted art, Istanbul offers one intriguing adventure after another.

Relax over baklava and coffee in a dusky cafe.  Browse for souvenirs in the Grand Bazaar.  And gaze in wonder at the Topkapi Jewels.  Istanbul is an experience you will never forget.


From the Navigator
At 2:15 am this morning we will be approaching the busy waters at the entrance to the Dardanelles.  We expect to embark our local Pilot off Mehmetcik.  We will pass the town of Canakale on our starboard side around 40 minutes after embarking our Pilot.

The Dardanelles is a 40 mile stretch of water joining the Aegean Sea with the Sea of Marmura and separating the European and Asian continents.  This forms the southern part of the the route to the Black Sea, and is transited by many ships each day.

We will disembark our pilot off Gelibolou at approximately 4:45 am and then head out into the Sea of Marmara.

We will embark our Istanbul pilot at around 10:30 am this morning, who will use his local knowledge to guide us through the busy waters that form entrance to the Bosphorus.  This strait forms the northern section of the route into the Black Sea.

We expect to be securely moored alongside our berth in the bustling harbour of Istanbul by noon today.  We will remain alongside for the remainder of the day.

As the ship was moored I watched the traffic in the harbour, started to recognize the landmarks, like the bridges and the Mosques.  The harbour is extremely busy.  When I made a random count of the activity (I had about a 120 degree viewport) there were 12 moving vessels.  This included a number of ferries, water taxis, bulk carrying freighters, and tour ships.

The activity was continuous and when the dark settled in, you could see many vessels still moving about due to their array of on board lighting.  I think that some of the tour boats were making a special pass by our ship to show the passengers more details about our huge ship.

This was the beginning of our experience in Istanbul, and as our time passed we came to view the inhabitants of Istanbul as very friendly.


Istanbul Water Front

Now while most passengers were taking in the shore line, and other ship activities, there were some who were supplying directions.  Actually Mary was drawing attention to how wind blown her hair is.

The Bosphorus Bridge is easy to recognize at any distance.
We could see more of the details of the shore line of Istanbul as the ship pulled into it's mooring.

The tour schedule advised that we would arrive in Istanbul near mid day.  We had the remainder of that day to do as we pleased (packing up to go ashore was job 1). We stayed on board over night, and Brenda had arranged that the next day, we would have an introductory tour of Istanbul.  While on our tour, our bags would be taked from the ship, to our hotel (a Conrad Hotel), and our tour would end by delivering us to the hotel.

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