Van and Istanbul

Day 13
It was a long journey to Van, over a high mountain road pass close to the Iranian border. This was my first view of Lake Van, from the coach. We were all glad to get to our hotel in Van and to have a long-awaited hot shower. There was an evening excursion, by bus and boat to Akdamar Island. The sun was setting as we left the jetty lighting up the surrounding mountains with a roseate hue, as we headed towards it and the island. On the island is the 10th century Armenian Church of the Holy Cross, filled with ancient frescoes. Lake Van is a saline and soda lake where the only fish known to survive is the Pearl Mullet, found nowhere else in the world. I tried some for my evening meal when we got back to the jetty. It was pleasant enough, though rather bony.
Day 14
Today we flew to Istanbul for a few hours of sightseeing, noteably the Bosphorus - Panorama, the Fountain of Kaiser Wilhelm II, the Egyptian Obelisk in Sultanahment Square, the Constantine Obelisk in Sultanahment Square and the Aya Sophia Mosque. This mosque is now a museum and I regret not spending the time and money going inside. We spent more time at and in the Blue Mosque Exterior, Exterior from Courtyard, Interior, Interior Dome and Windows, and a lot more time at the Topkapi Palace Courtyard, Fascia, Interior 1, Interior 2 and Interior 3.
Day 15
We flew back to the UK. On our trip the food and drink was good both on the treks and in towns and cities where our guide selected the restaurants. One of the delights of Turkey, no pun intended, was cherry juice, which is available as a drink in cans or cartons everywhere. We now have whole ranges of fruit drinks in the UK but can I find cherry juice? No! I would love to go back to Turkey sometime but I have other plans for the near future. It had been a wonderful holiday.

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