The time in North Cyprus is

London to North Cyprus by Train and Bus

Istanbul Day Two

Thursday 16th August (Istanbul)

Picked up again promptly and taken to the departure point and transferred to the tour bus. As we pulled away, the summary of where we are going only loosely resembled my programme. When I queried this, the explanation was that when the smaller agencies book tours they are doing it with a bigger company. If that company does not have enough people to justify a particular tour, their clients are simply moved over to the nearest approximation of the tour that was requested. The problem is, where we are going today is remarkably similar to where I have booked tomorrow. The tour rep on the bus's attitude was tough sh one T. I've spoken to Fezbus in  Istanbul who say if today is no problem for me, they'll sort out tomorrow. I've got to say that at the time of writing (9pm) I've got my doubts. But we'll see.

Istanbul from the Bosphorus
The Blue Mosque From the Bosphorus
View of the Bosphorus
Bosphorus View
View of the Bosphorus
View From the Bosphorus

The day started with a cruise on the Bosphorus to the Golden Horn. The Golden Horn encloses a peninsula, forming a deep natural harbour. The Byzantine naval headquarters were there, and fortifications were built along the shoreline to protect Constantinople from attack. During the trip we passed under the bridge joining Europe with Asia.

Pierre Loti cafe
Pierre Loti Cafe
View from Pierre Loti cafe, Istanbul
View From the Cafe
View from the Pierre Loti cafe, Istanbul
Istanbul from the Pierre Loti cafe

Following the boat trip we then went to the Pierre Loti cafe. P L was a famous French author (I assume in France!) who lived in Istanbul. The cafe is at the top of a steep hill, and we travelled back down by cable car.

The Yildiz Palace Museum
Yildiz palace Museum
Istanbul tram
An Istanbul Tram

Lunch was at the same place and with the same menu as yesterday. Lentil soup, meat stew with rice and chips, followed by melon. Drinks you pay extra for.

Hardly typical Turkish fare. Do these tour operators not even think about the product they are providing?

On to the Yildiz Palace museum. Apparently on the programme because the place we were supposed to go to is closed on a Thursday. Nice enough in its way, but hardly spectacular.

From there it was to the Camlica Hill. This is one of the highest hills in Istanbul, and the views of the city and Bosphorus are spectacular.

Istanbul fish market
Istanbul Fish Market
We finished the day with a walk round the "new" city. Here the roads are much wider, and a lot of them are pedestrianised. The driving, however is as spectacularly bad as in the old city. Except as the roads are wider there are more vehicles fighting for the same space of road. On my trip from the hotel this morning, our driver, while in a queue for traffic lights, sent his helper to buy some cakes. When he had to start moving, he pulled up at the lights to wait. It was a one way street, so he pulled well over to the right to wait.

Unfortunately a coach came up behind him so he had to move, turning right against a no right turn sign. He then had to turn round to go back the way he came by turning into a side street and backing out. Into the path of an oncoming tram which for fairly obvious reasons couldn't swerve out the way. (Our driver fairly promptly pulled back into the side road.) On the way back for his friend, the road wasn't quite wide enough for all the traffic that wanted to use it, so he used the pavement instead.

I tried to get to the Byzantine cistern when I got back to the hotel, but I got there just after it closed. Hopefully I'll find some time tomorrow after my planned day. I'm being picked up from my hotel for my train at 6pm, though, so I don't hold out a lot of hope


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