Yay! I’m finally on to posting about our cruise! Istanbul was the departure port so we decided to book a night before departing so that we could still get the chance to explore the city. We stayed at Hotel Morione which was in the perfect location for exploring the old part of Istanbul, a 5 minute walk from the river with stunning views to the rest of Istanbul and close to the port too. We arrived pretty late in the evening so only really had time to go out for dinner and chose Namli Gurme for some turkish style mezze dishes. It was amazing, so if you’re ever around that area (karakoy) I’d totally recommend that! We then took a little walk along the river watching all the fishermen catching tiny little fish!
The next morning we walked over to the famous Blue Mosque and Hagia Sofia (stopping by all the local turkish delight and tea shops on the way) but unfortunately when we got there there were prayers so we couldn’t go in the mosque at that time. The area around the blue mosque is so pretty, filled with flowers, fountains and street vendors selling freshly grilled sweetcorn and bread. We also popped in to the Basilica Cistern while we were there, though I kinda got a little freaked out by the darkness and the water – two things that I don’t really like so we didn’t really stay for long.
We were so worn out from all the walking that we decided to buy a ticket for the hop-on, hop-off busses that run all through the city, just so that we could have a little bit of a tour of Istanbul before checking in for our cruise. I’d totally recommend it (they have free wifi too) but it was an amazing way to see the city in a limited time frame (we chose the red route which takes you a little further) and you can buy tickets for 24 or 48 hours. Our favourite part was the views over the Bosphorus River to the Asian side of Turkey then crossing over the huge bridge and circling back again to the old city centre.
I really wish we’d have gotten a bit longer to explore Istanbul as it was such an amazing city and not what any of us were expecting at all, and we all agreed that we’d definitely go back sometime. Have you been to Istanbul before? What did you think?