Thursday, Oct. 8, 2009 – Istanbul, Turkey

     Our last day of the cruise has arrived and we booked the Ottoman Treasures tour for $60 each.  Stanley took it too but Susie stayed on board.  We visited the most prominent landmarks of Istanbul; The Mosque of Sultan Ahmet known as the Blue Mosque and the famous Topkapi Palace.  We saw the Chinese and Japanese porcelain, sultan’s costumes, the harem and the treasury.  Poor Ray, there was a lot of walking.  At one part, they did have a golf cart he could ride.

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      They gave us bags to put our shoes in because you have to take them off when you enter the Mosque.  It is still used and they try to keep the carpet clean because when the Muslims pray, they touch their foreheads to the floor.  They clean the rug every night. 

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     Topkapi Palace was pretty big.  It just boggles the mind how they built these structures so long ago.  In the day, it was better to be a concubine in the harem than living outside the walls.

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I expected the bazaar to be like the one we saw in Morocco but this one was more like little shops.  The Grand Bazaar has more than 4000 shops!  We didn’t have time to see them all.  Our time in this area was only 1 hour and 20 minutes.

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     The group met at a carpet and jewelry store and while waiting I went shopping and Ray bought me a beautiful pair of earrings.  After a short ride we arrived back to the ship.  We had a light lunch and then started to pack.  Luggage had to be out by 9 PM.  We did some packing and then went to dinner.  We picked up a photo map of the cruise and I went to finish packing.  We wanted to go see the Istanbul Folkloric show at 8 PM so Ray went to save seats.  We always sat on the bar stools at the back on deck 6.  Ray was able to stretch his leg there.  I did get the large bag packed and outside the door and went to the show.

     I got a great video of the belly dancer, but didn’t take a still picture for you.  Come on over and see our trip pictures!  The end of the show was just music and it was not really for us so we went up to get the rest of the packing done.  We tried to make it an early night as we had a 3 AM wake-up call for Friday.

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