Cappadocia is famous for its hundreds of hot air balloons but we didn’t see a single one during our stay until the very last day – even then there were only just a few that managed to launch due to the cloudy and windy weather.
Thankfully we weren’t hanging out to take a balloon ride!
We decided to leave the land of fairy chimneys and head back to our boat Sunday at Viaport Marina on the outskirts of Istanbul.
After a smooth seven hour drive we were safely back at the marina. Both our guests (Jonathan’s younger brother and his partner) and Jonathan were unwell by this time but fortunately for me, I didn’t succumb.
It was such a shame that we had illness aboard as our sailing buddies and marina neighbours Sue and John were back from their youngest son’s wedding and had so much to tell us about. Also, they had boat guests too – their eldest son from Australia and his partner and her two boys. Sadly, we weren’t able to socialise as we were worried that our boat guests and Jonathan might have Covid.
However, Jonathan and I did manage a socially distanced drink on their last night and we were joined by Sue and John’s youngest son who “popped over” from Switzerland to organise his boat (moored just over the way on our dock) for her wintering over in Viaport.
The next few days passed enjoyably with walks along the seafront, feeding the street cats, shopping in the Viaport shopping mall and going out for delicious medicinal cake!
The cake worked and our guests came good just before they were due to fly home! Before they left we managed to have a sightseeing day in Istanbul.
We decided to catch a cab in and when the driver asked in a curious mix of Turkish and English which way we would like to go I thought I agreed to using the (Eurasia ) tunnel, and agreed to pay the toll. Imagine our surprise when we arrived at the ferry terminal in Kadıköy!
The ferry ride was actually the nicest way to cross from the Asian side to the European side of Istanbul. Obviously I had agreed to pay for the cost of the car ferry rather than the bridge but it was a happy mistake!
After a quick trip over the Bosphorus the taxi dropped us off close to the “Egyptian” spice market (Misir Çarşısı) near the Galata Bridge in Eminonu.
This atmospheric market was built in the mid 17th Century and has been the centre of the Turkish spice trade since that time.
Jonathan and I had only recently visited this extremely crowded market with members of my family but it was still enjoyable to explore such a colourful and fragrant place once again.
After a stroll round the market we headed towards Hagia Sofia and the Blue Mosque in Sultanahmet Square.
Just as we arrived the call to prayer (ezan) began to ring out from the minarets of the Blue Mosque. In the silence after the initial call the muezzin at Hagia Sophia (which is only a hundred metres away) started up and so began a haunting exchange between the two. It was part battle, part duet, and it literally stopped people in their tracks. Everyone in the grounds of the Blue Mosque were captivated by the exchange.
The day after our short exploration of Istanbul we waved a sad goodbye to our guests but there would be plenty to keep us occupied as we only had a few short weeks before leaving for Australia.
We had a lot to do to prepare to leave the boat for winter – deep cleaning, taking down of sails for storage and maintenance, flushing engines with fresh water, putting the water maker into “sleep mode”, defrosting and cleaning out fridges, reorganising all the items we had squirrelled away while we had visitors. There was also winter clothing to be found and packing for summer in Australia and a hundred and one other jobs.
One of the tasks we had on our list was to fill Sunday’s diesel tanks as when you leave a vessel (or any vehicle) for a protracted length of time it is best to leave them full to avoid condensation which can cause all sorts of issues. Unfortunately there is no bowser at Viaport Marina so we decided to take the short trip to another marina in nearby Pendik.
It was so wonderful to be on the water again even though it was just for a couple of hours. Fishing season had begun and we had to dodge between boats, lines and nets as we left Viaport.
At Pendik the fuel dock was a little difficult to locate – basically it was a case of go past all the super yachts and turn left at the end! The staff there were very friendly and of course brought us a “çay” to drink while waiting for our tanks to fill.
We didn’t have much time for socialising before we left as there was so much to do but we did have a lovely evening with our friends Izzet and Ayşe and their younger son Doğuhan at their (and now our) favourite fish restaurant in Tuzla. A very pleasant way to end the sailing season for another year!