October 16, 2011 was our last day in Istanbul. On the evening of October 13 at the tour Welcome Meeting our Istanbul guide had casually announced that we were not going to the iconic Süleymaniye Mosque even though it was on our itinerary. No reason was offered when I asked “Why?”
Determined (I, at least) to see it, Anita and I set off early on the 16th to take bus or subway across the Golden Horn from Taksim Square near our hotel. Our ship, the Louis Cristal, was scheduled to depart that afternoon and sail overnight through the Sea of Marmara and the Dardanelles Strait for the Greek island of Mykonos. We were to be picked up by bus at our hotel at 2 PM and taken to the Port.
This was the day of the 33rd Asia to Europe marathon – the only marathon spanning two continents. We expected limited services due to this important event, but not a total absence of any public transport or automobiles going near the Galata Bridge over the Golden Horn. Confusion for about 40 minutes. Mixed opinions from locals – perhaps because the route has had three different versions during the contest’s history. Anita decided to go back to the hotel. I decided to walk – in the rain – the third rainy day.
I had chosen several things to see at or near the Mosque. The walk was about 4 km – an easy 50 minutes one way. Four hours to get there, tour and return seemed plenty of time…