Our First Family Visit in Istanbul

Trip Start Oct 24, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

Flag of Turkey  ,
Monday, May 23, 2011

The gods had smiled upon us in Rome and we'd managed to spend part of a day with Pat, Konrad's mom. She was on a cruise around the Mediterranean and our dates in Rome overlapped with hers. Lucky for us, Istanbul was another stop on the cruise's itinerary! 

Her boat was scheduled to pull in at 7:30am, so we rushed down to Kabatas to meet her right after waking up. It wasn't terribly hard to spot her since nearly everyone else was herded onto buses to take part in the uber-expensive cruise tours. Once we'd reunited, we headed to the tram and took her to Eminonu and began our lightning tour of Istanbul.

Over the next seven hours, we ushered her around the city. We started at the New Mosque and the Spice Bazaar, then stopped in at the Rustem Pasa Mosque before winding our way through the back streets to the Grand Bazaar. We declined the offers of free tea and made our way to the Sultanahmet exit. 

From there we navigated our way to the Blue Mosque, which was overflowing with tourists (many of them from Pat's cruise, actually!), then crossed the park to the Hagia Sophia. We hadn't realized it, but the Hagia Sophia is closed on Mondays -- which just means that she's got something to do when she comes back for a longer visit!

Taking the Hagia Sophia off the itinerary meant that we had time to go to the Basilica Cistern, a place we hadn't been to before. The cistern was was built in the sixth century to store the city's water underground. It's in extremely good condition -- you'd never guess it was 1500 years old! The three of us enjoyed exploring it, and then returned to ground level and walked out into the sunshine again.

It was a beautiful day and we had a bit of extra time, so we decided to get back to Beyoglu on foot. We took her to one of our favorite restaurants for lunch, then took her to our apartment to meet Diego and see where we live. By the time we'd done all of that, we were pretty much out of time. We stopped off at Cihangir Park on the walk back to the boat, then bid her farewell, making her promise to come and see our fair city again.
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