|Up at 6:00 or so and down to breakfast. Didn’t take a picture but it was pretty much the same 0 except the vegetables were broccoli and red peppers. Not too bad.
Left our suitcases outside of the door and met up in the lobby. We were delayed about half an hour because a bunch of people didn’t pay for their mini bar. Then off through the very narrow streets of Old City Istanbul and wound our way to the Blue Mosque. We all had to wear long pants and selves – women had to wear head coverings. As we got to the place we had to remove our shoes (they provide the plastic bags to carry them) but they also had robes for people who were not properly attired.
The mosque was beautiful with many blue tiles (hence the name). There were hundreds of small lights at about ten feet off the floor but the dome went up almost 180 feet. They are low so people could read and they used to be oil lamps. Over 100 people were employed to keep them lit. Now electric of course.
There were hundreds of people there but we could not go to the prayer area. We took a couple pictures and looked around, but after about 30 minutes we headed out for a quick rest stop at the old Turkish baths. Then on the bus to head south.
Istanbul goes on for 50 miles outside of the center. Very densely populated for a time, then a break, then more. Neslie told us that most of the growth had occurred since 1980 – when there were five million people in the city. Now there are 15 million. There were a few traffic jams but a good modern road (and much road construction). Apparently Turkey is the second most rapidly growing economy after China in the world.
We finally entered the land of sheep and goats – and rougher roads and eventually left the city. We soon came in sight of the Aegean Sea and to me it looked like we were in a huge caldera with a ring of hills around a central island. But farms everywhere – actually small villages surrounded by farm fields. We did a nice rest stop and had an ice cream.
Then we continued on to a small port city near Gallolipi. We were too far away to take a look at the battlefield but there were several old bunkers dotting the landscape. At the port there were many souvenirs of the great Turkish victory there. This year is the 99th anniversary.
We stopped for lunch in town. Minna and I stopped at a small stand and had a fish, spinach, and onion sandwich which was quite good! But the temperature was quite hot - about 92 to 94. We walked along the quay and say many jelly fish but it was very hot so back to the bus.
We eventually drove onto the ferry and then walked up to the deck. There were still huge numbers of jellyfish out into the Dardanelles and we were followed but a bunch of seagulls and many people were throwing them food. The trip only took about 20 minutes and we were in Asia!
We quickly exited the ferry and immediately drove to Troy. We got there about 5:00 and spent an hour touring the site. It was absolutely amazing. There were actually six distinct Troys dating back to 3000 years ago – the one of Helen of Troy fame was number four followed by roman occupation of the site.
Troy was important because it was directly on the Dardanelles but sediment from the rivers filled in the area and it’s now over three miles from the sea.
Touring the site we got to see the original walls of Homeric myth, the earlier bronze age foundations, and many of the Roman materials which made up the majority of the site (and the last occupation). Some were reconstructed but most were still in ruin. During the tour my headphone went out but Minna gave me hers so I could take pictures and she could walk by the guide and hear what was going on. There was a very strange wooden horse you could climb up, but it was much too big to go through the gates of the city! A great tour.
Then off to our hotel – the Kolin Hotel. We got some nice rooms overlooking the pool and straights and a 600+ setup for a wedding. We were told it was supposed to end at midnight. We walked to the local grocery store/mall and got some snacks for Alice then back to an included buffet dinner. Wasn’t bad but way too much fried stuff and a huge variety of desserts. Most we tried, didn’t like… We then tried to walk along the straights – but there were huge beetles – as big as airplanes!! – flying around. Minna didn’t like that much so we had to walk back through the wedding party top get to the hotel.
We finally settled in for the night as the party continued. They just brought out the cake as I finish this up. Now the violins are playing…