We are now ensconced in Istanbul in the Taksim area. This is the more modern side of the Golden Horn compared with the old side which is where the big Mosques, Grand Bazaar etc are located. Have spent our time so far just wandering around the place on and off the metro tram and funicular. Istanbul also has the worlds second oldest underground which opened in the 1860s, might have 1870s (it is pretty short but runs up the hill from the Golden Horn for a few hundred metres).
The city is very colourful at the moment, April is Tulip month and blossoms are all over the place. Have looked through part of the Archeological Museum, very focussed on the Roman period with much of its material having been collected in the late 1800s. It seems there were sarcophagus everywhere around these parts just waiting to be picked up and put in Museums. Later we went for a short round trip cruise on a local ferry up and down the Bosphorus.
On the other side of the old city in Topacki area is the 1453 Siege of Constantinople Museum. Now this was pretty good. It is one of those panorama displays. One stands in the middle surrounded by a circular painting, leading up to the painting though is open area with all sorts of scenery etc that merge in with the painting, it gives it depth. The difference with this Panorama is that there is also a sky dome over it which also merges in with the painting. You are right in the thick of the action it seems. There is some accompanying sound effects. The attached picture depicts one small segment of the scene.
Today we were out at the Princes Islands. Caught one of the public ferries out across the Mammara sea. It is about a one hour trip to the group of 4 Islands. The ferry stops at each one. We went ashore at the last stop, can’t spell the island’s name now! These Islands were a bit of a playground for the idle rich in 1920s/30s. Trotsky was exiled here by Stalin.
The ferry back from Princes Islands was running a bit late on the way back so we walked into our next tour briefing half hour late. The tour takes off tomorrow with a day around Istanbul and then onto Gallipoli for Anzac Day and then on around parts of Turkey.