The first leg on our journey aboard Celebrity Equinox was London to Istanbul, in Turkey. We flew into Istanbul with British Airways, and were herded onto a transfer coach along with around thirty or so other cruise holidaymakers. Our hotel was around 30-40 minutes from the airport.
Unfortunately, with the FCO warning travellers of possible terrorist activity targeted at tourists, we decided not to chance wandering around at twilight and instead to spend our arrival day in the hotel, enjoying some hotel traditional food.
We spent the night in the Wyndham (although some confusion around a mysterious email stating we’d cancelled our cruise due to health reasons wasn’t the best start, we couldn’t fault the staff for giving us a room until the issue was resolved), a luxury hotel towering above the city’s streets. We had the most amazing views over the city.
In the morning we were herded onto another transfer bus of the hour’s journey to the port. We were so pleasantly surprised at the journey! Expecting a run-down town, Istanbul is beautiful, clean and well looked after. We passed some traditional houses as well as a number of ruins, ancient walls and towering mosques. Talk about a melting pot of culture!
Despite the volatile situation at the moment, Istanbul looked amazing and it’s definitely a city we’ll be returning to.
Oh, and the Rainbow Steps. These had a fascinating story. Apparently a retired man wanted to make people smile, and so spent £500 and one weekend painting each step a different colour. A few days later, the council repainted over the steps in a bland grey, causing the people to revolt and repaint the steps once again. Now, they’re left for people to interpret in whichever way they want – political or social and many others have popped up around the city.