The trip is over and done and finally—Istanbul! One of the oldest cities in the world it is the only city that is on two continents (Europe and Asia). Since my hotel was on the Europe side, that is where I spent most of my time.
The worst part about Istanbul was that this was where I said good-0bye to my tour group. What Can I say, I’ll miss them all,. I learned so much from them—the odd phrase, backgammon and that drinking every night is what Holiday is all about.
Luckily, there is facebook to keep in touch.
Now, I have four days to tour the city by myself.
I ha e seen a lot of mosques and the Blue Mosque is truly one of the biggest and is impressive as hell. But but what sticks out is the vendor who would NOT go away. There I was, standing in line and he starts chatting me up. Whatever. Then he doesn’t’ leave and wants to escort me through the mosque. Um…no. And ‘No’ for so many reasons, but the biggest being that I like being by myself. So, I brushed him off and took in the blue-tiled interior by myself thank-you-very-much. And extravaganza is not an exaggeration. The oddest part about the Blue Mosque is that women don’t have to cover their heads. I covered mine. To do anything less seems disrespectful.
But when I walked out, guess who was waiting? Yes. Him. I had to ditch him again. What a pain.
It used to be a mosque but is now a museum and is huge and wonderful and the mosaics are gilded as hell. And God knows, I do love the gilding (shiny….).
Where the sultans lived and is now a museum. The grounds are impressive and the various building hold some fairly sparkly relics. There are no pictures of the sparkly relics though—they won’t let you take them. But the most interesting building was the Harem. I always pictured a harem like a Disney move—one giant room with pillows and perhaps a pool. Instead, it’s multiple room with rooms for the eunuchs, the girls, the kids, etc. Impressive. And also tiled up one wall and down the other.
Too cool! An underground cistern as that the Roman’s built. And this is no small feat. The room is as big as a mosque and held up with arches and columns. I can’t imagine how they managed to dig out the ground and then construct a building (and it really is a building in many ways) of such impressive beauty. It was forgotten for a long time until someone saw a villager pull a fish from a hole in his floorboards (the cistern was beneath the house). Now, we all get to enjoy it!