And the day's story
Today we planned the Bosphorus cruise. So were up early for the usual breakfast and then walked down to the Spice Market. We had to cross the road using the underpass, which is just like the Russian ones- full of market style shops. As we came up the underpass, there was a row of shoe shiners with gleaming brass contraptions for their polishes and brushes. We walked round the front of the mosque to the entrance of the bazaar. It is brightly lit as it is inside a brick arched gallery. Each shop has an array of spices - the most spectacular having cone piles of ground spices in warm autumn colours. Hanging from the overhead are strings of dried veg chillies and sponges. One string we couldn't recognise, so asked one of the vendors. He told us that it was dried aubergine, which they re-hydrate and then stuff with mince and/or rice with raisins, pinenuts and such. We were tempted into buying some apple tea from him - so we can take a taste of Istanbul home.
Soon we had to head off to get our tickets for the boat trip. Several people were already there and we only had a short wait before going into the waiting area. The boat arrived about ten minutes before departure and the small crowd of passengers hurried on board to find their favourite spots for the voyage. We chose a seat on the left upstairs and watched the sights on the Europian side of the Bosphorus. A large cruise boat was at anchor on the 'New' Euro side of the Golden Horn - Star Princess. It is enormous! There are about 5 stops as one progresses towards the Black Sea. Some palaces and villas (yalis) have been built along the way, which we were fascinated to see. After a speedy 1 ½ hours we arrived at Anadolu Kavagi, and here the boat stops for a 3 hour lunch break. We disembarked and took a stroll up the hill to the 14th century Byzantine fortress known as the Genoese Castle on the top. It seems to be built from an eclectic collection of bricks, stones and ruined Roman temples. But there is also a spectacular view to the Black Sea. On the way down we passed the puppet maker with a shop full of Pinocchios. Back down at the little fishing village we looked for lunch but didn’t fancy a set fishy 3 courses. Then we discovered a man making waffles with flavoured spreads and 'homemade' ice-cream'. As he also offered cappuccino, we succumbed. We chose waffles with chocolate and pistachio ice cream and another with hazelnut and coconut ice cream. First we were served our cappuccinos. Instant Nestle style -but OK! They were lovely people and we were pretty much their only customers.
After walking up the road and back again, we wandered along the harbour and suddenly encountered the captain of a small fishing boat. We 'talked' football, then he invited us aboard to take photos - amazing. He said it was too rough to go to fish in the Black Sea today.
Then it was time to re-board for the return journey. Again we sat on the left and viewed the Asian side as we motored down to Istanbul in a replica of the outward journey. This time as we came round into the Golden Horn, we saw another cruise ship was in port - Galaxy, but not quite the size or elegance of the Star Princess.
When we docked, we disembarked, and then walked back through the Spice Market and on to Cigdem for tea, coffee and shortbread biscuits.
Our last walk down the tram rack to the GH and packing as we found out that the car will be here for us at 6.30 in the morning. We have come to dinner at Rumeli Restaurant, next to Mozaic. We started with mezze and cheesy pastries, with a glass of raki. This was followed by stuffed chicken and kofta accompanied with glass of 'Angora' red wine - good but not as good as last nights. No pud, but apple tea, then back to bed because of the early start.