TPJThemeParkJames

ECC Turkey Tour

Day 8: Istanbul Sightseeing

A morning of sightseeing in Istanbul, before the journey home ...

Saturday 22nd September 2018

Istanbul

Given the excesses of the previous evening, some people were less keen than others on a morning walking around the streets of Istanbul, but it takes a lot to put me off a little bit of sightseeing ... and Ben, potentially against his better judgement, agreed to accompany me on the tram from our hotel into the city centre

Mosque

Our first destination was the famous Blue Mosque. We were going to go inside, but the queue was huge and there was a lot of restoration work going on meaning there wasn't so much to see.

Hagia

Instead we headed over for a look at Hagia Sophia, a one time Greek Orthodox cathedral, latterly an Ottoman mosque and now a museum

Topkapi

We had to queue for quite a while for the security checkpoint before entering the grounds of the Topkapı Palace through the spectacular archway

Topkapi

Inside, the grounds were beautiful and tranquil. We had a welcome sit down with a nice cup of coffee and cake in the shade.

Tram

Following the break, we caught a tram towards the Grand Bazaar

Street

A busy Istanbul street

Bazaar

The Grand Bazaar dates from the fifteen century, and is one of the oldest covered markets in the world

Delight

One of many Turkish Delight shops

Bazaar

Hustle and bustle in the Grand Bazaar

Lunch

With the help of Tripadvisor we found a restaurant for lunch down a small side street with a view of the sea

Hill

Feeling satisfied, we headed back to the hotel to collect our luggage ready to travel to the airport

Plane

Our coaches dropped us off at Atatürk Airport ready for our flight back to London. The airport is due to close next year when Istanbul's brand new airport will open and it was clear to see that Atatürk was old and tired. On the other hand, while Turkey might be old - ancient in fact, it is definitely not past its best. Both the country itself and its theme parks were rich, vibrant, welcoming, and well worth exploring.