While I could fill you in on exactly what we did at each hour on each day (because I did such a good job documenting) I will save you the time. Here are a few highlights:
Breakfasts, of course. I’ve been recreating in my own kitchen, but it’s not the same.
The Grand Bazaar was crowded and overwhelming, and everywhere you turn a salesman wants to “ask you a question” or “show you something very quickly”. An experience, but I preferred the much smaller Arasta Bazaar just behind the Blue Mosque.
Grand Bazaar – spices and turkish delight for days.
We took the light rail out to the Byzantine City Walls of Constantinople, where there wasn’t much to look at. Joe was obsessed with walking along it, under it, over it and near it. Me on the other hand, I just wanted to get off of it. Thank you, G, for instilling in me a deep, deep fear of heights.
Walking on the City Wall
The Hagia Sofia & Mosaic Museum were both incredible and very complimentary of each other. I strongly recommend purchasing the three-day museum pass for the savings in money and time, and a little nudge to see a bit more. The Hagia Sofia is a basilica turned mosque; most of the mosaics had been covered by medallions with words of the Quran. The building is crazy big and crazy old, and it’s a trip to see the arches bending under the pressure of it all. Scaffolding covers a good portion of the inside and has for some 20 years because they keep running out of money for restoration. The medallions adorning the walls and ceilings are beautiful… but of course my favorite part was the mosaic fresco on the ceiling when you enter. Did they miss this one when they were covering all the faces?
Hagia Sofia (yes, I know, I need a new camera)
Joe the tourist in front of the Hagia Sofia
The Mosaic Museum is small and contains all mosaics pulled from Palace grounds. It is literally a collection of the sidewalks royalty walked on thousands of years ago. Very fancy.
Mosaic Museum – look closely and you can see thousands of tiny tiles.
We did eventually make it to a typical Turkish cafeteria a la Rick Steves. Had no idea how to order, so we definitely wound up with three entrees, but it was delicious and an experience I wouldn’t want to miss.
Chef at a typical Turkish Cafeteria
Turkish Delight in the cafeteria
As I put these posts together I realize just how much we explored and experienced the city. Between Joe’s hunger for history and my need to stop at every Turkish towel store in town, I am so happy to say that we saw quite a bit. It’s taking awhile to pull it all together, but I’ll work on posting the rest of the trip in the next few weeks. It’s telling that we are still in Istanbul, which were just the first four days of a two week adventure. Stay tuned!