Thursday, April 15, 2010

Istanbul Day 1: Up and At 'Em

Cisco and I were in a taxi at 5:45 am to catch sunrise at the blue mosque.

Then we wandered a bit looking for breakfast, met a new friend down by the Marmara Strait

Walked back up the hills to a family owned cafe for breakfast. We had boreg, filo type dough with meat, spinach and feta, really really good, slightly sweet. We ate this with strong black tea.

After breakfast we found the blue mosque still closed to visitors so we got some coffee:


Now the Blue Mosque was open:

and across the park was the Aya Sofya, built in the 400's, an amazing feat of architecture, it had the world's largest freestanding dome. The blue mosque was commissioned by Sultan Ahmet specifically to outdo the Aya Sofya (which had already been converted to a mosque by the conquerors in 1423). His architect couldn't do it without massive pillars...

A long walk over to the Grand Bazaar was broken up by lunch with this guy:

An awesome sheep meat sandwichwith onion, tomato, and lots of spices.
This is galata bridge, I walked across this to get home

After the mosque we stopped in the old byzantine cistern, built in the early 500's as a city water reserve in case of siege

A long walk followed, to the grand bazaar ... after a stop for lunch. (kokorec sandwich)
And then the spice market ... I got some pomegranite turkish delight.

After all this walking around I headed across the bridge to catch a cab home. My luggage was in my room, they cheerfully informed me at the desk. But it wasn't ... after a little searching they realized it was in rm 1503 not 503, so ... NOW I can change clothes, yay!

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