Temperature: 10 degrees
Weather: cool breeze with sunny periods
Even though the departure time from the hotel was only at 8:00am in the morning, by 7:30am, I was already out braving the cool weather while ensuring at the same time that my luggage were there in sight. A tall Turkish man who didn't speak nor understood a word in English was sorting them out and putting them in different compartments underneath the bus. Looking at his name tag clipped to his sweater, it was Harun, our very own private driver for the next several weeks. Daghan, our guide, later introduced him to us!
Making eventually my way inside the bus…..I know, I know….first one again, I elected to sit on the left side of the bus and this, three seats right behind Harun. Since we were doing the everyday clockwise rotational seat thing and this jumping one row every time, this was a good starting point from my perspective.
Eight o’clock came and right on the button, the bus exited the Conrad Hotel grounds heading towards new adventures, new excitement and new discoveries for all of us…and this, as I thought to myself, probably by now all boring stuff to the TD and the driver. But for me, I was ecstatic, I was happy, I was on cloud nine kind of way plus.….the sun was already out, the sky was blue.....it was a perfect day to start my tour. Woo hoo!
The first highlight of the day was a cruise on the Bosphorus, the natural strait that divides Europe and Asia. Having already taken a similar cruise with Michel just two days earlier through the hotel’s concierge desk, this one proved to be different from the start. By this I mean that the cruise ship itself was different in size plus it had an open top deck which was quite pleasant just to sit and have the sun rays on our faces even though it was a bit windy at times being early in the morning. However, with the different shadows provided by the sun's light, from a photographer’s point of view, I was able to capture stunning pictures.
Beautiful mansions, palaces of Ottoman sultans, fortress, castles as well as the suspension bridges connecting the two sides of Istanbul's city or in other words, of the two continents, were all seen over again. However, this time the ship cruised much closer to the shore allowing me to see even more amazing details of the stunning landscape and luxurious mansions. Turkish flags flew everywhere, on houses, parks and way above the trees.
Again, as opposed to my previous cruise tour which went up and down the Bosphorus Strait, this one went only one way in which after an hour, we all disembarked at the end of the tour and boarded our awaiting motor coach......this time heading outside of Istanbul and towards a new destination while I yelled inside myself....Turkey, here I come!