Our final day in Istanbul
Istanbul Travel Blog› entry 5 of 44 › view all entries
After three wonderful days in Istanbul, what would our last day hold? It was a little cooler than usual, so we threw on some pants and prepared to walk to Dolmabahçe Palace, which was the residence of the sultans in the 18 and 1900's and even Ataturk for a time. We headed out of the ship and were greeted by tons and tons of rain. Poncho and umbrellas in hand, not letting the rain get the best of us, we headed out and walked a good 100 meters before our pants were completely soaked. With a disappointing sigh, we went back to the ship. I had no intention of letting the rain win, though. I put on some shorts and Cathy some capris and we headed back out into the rain.
The ticket price of Dolmabahçe Palace includes the mandatory guided tour. You can buy either a ticket for the Selamlik (men's quarters), Harem (apartments of the family of the Sultan), or a combined ticket. We thought it would be neat to check out both parts. I won't describe any of the rooms in detail, but the Selamlik was really incredible. The tour is very informative and you are able to see many of the fascenating rooms of the palace, including the ceremonial hall with the world's largest Bohemian chandelier, weighing in at 4.5 tons. The Harem was a private section of the palace, much quieter and not as fancy.
After leaving the palace and saying a prayer that the rain would not come back, we walked to the Europe side of the city one last time, just to say good-bye. I had been eyeing a circular bread thing from a street vendor, and I finally bought one. I am glad I did! We made sure we were back on the cruise ship before departure, and I was on the top deck as we left port. Istanbul is an incredible city often overlooked by travelers, and that should not be. I was blown away by the culture, the people, the architecture, and definitely the food. I am excited about visiting Turkey again some day, and I want to see how the rest of the country compares.
Due to my lack of planning, we were stuck eating the later dinner each night. This turned out to be a blessing though, as there were many times that we were in port when the early dinner was going on. After dinner we saw a show at the auditorium, songs from various musicals. At least Cathy enjoyed it. :)