21 Sept 2015
I had the alarm on my mobile phone set for 7:30AM, so that I could have breakfast and get an early start exploring Istanbul.Unfortunately, between the 10 hour time difference, the excitement of the evening, and the bag of Turkish delight at bedtime, I didn't actually get to sleep until after 4:00AM.
Even more unfortunately, my cell phone was still on California time. I woke around 9:10AM and knew by the light from the window that something had gone wrong... when I looked at the time and found that I had lost 2 precious hours, I dressed as quickly as possible and raced to the roof for breakfast, which was a selection of cold cuts, olives, vegetables, and eggs.
The citizens of Istanbul are very proud of their ocean views. What I found interesting about their ocean view was that it showed a slice of their reality. As seen from the rooftops, although it is on the edge of the tourist area, this is not a wealthy neighborhood.
At 10:00AM I was finally out the door and on my way, with 2 hours less than I had planned for sightseeing.
Cat lovers beware: Istanbul has hordes of beautiful, petite feral cats. My heart ached to see this. They were sneaking under the tables of outdoor restaurants looking for tidbits, Istanbul's version of pigeons. Some were injured or nursing babies. At night they can be seen and heard fighting for bits of territory.
Street scene (I need a camera with a more powerful zoom so that I can take pictures from far enough away not to get caught). These carpets must be heavier than they look, the man on the right was loading them onto the other's back one by one, rather than just lifting the whole stack.
Having passed by the obelisks from last night and entered the gate and into the courtyard of the Blue Mosque, I am standing as far back in the corner as possible to get it all in the picture, but I can't get both the spires and the ground in one photo because it is so big.
Fortunately, the miniature version fits into one photo!
At the tourist entrance. Women must cover their head and shoulders-upper arms. Men must be wearing pants and shirts with sleeves.
All the tourists pass through this line, and at the far end if not properly clothed they hand out large pieces of cloth. There were a couple of young men who had to wear them top and bottom, so they must have been wearing shorts and tank tops. Tip: bring your own scarf (women) and dress appropriately (men) - these cloths get reused over and over all day.
Oops, a bit of my hair is still visible... but I would never be mistaken for a local, anyway.
It was hot, humid, and REALLY crowded, I would have enjoyed it more had I started out 2 hours earlier as I had originally planned. As it was I rather rushed through.
With my little automatic camera, I could take either a low light picture, which is blurry and whites out the stained glass windows but shows the beautiful colors of the ornamentation, or a shorter exposure which shows the stained glass but the rest is too dark. I will see if Photoshop can help these pictures when I get home.
Back into the fresh air! Here is a view of the Blue Mosque from the middle of the plaza.
And turning the opposite direction, here is the Hagia Sophia, which is closed on Mondays. It will be on the list for next time...
Further posts to follow!