Trip Start Jun 05, 2010
11Trip End Jun 19, 2010
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Where I stayed
It was also cool to see a large portion of the 13-mile long castle wall that surrounds the European side of Istanbul along the water. We arrived at our hotel, the Cordial House, and checked into our room. I could tell Tara had to dig deep to keep it together, with it being her first time outside the Americas and as the hotel accurately fit Rick Steves’ description of “no frills.” It didn’t help that outside of our only window was a very narrow courtyard shared with the flats right behind us. You could just about reach out and touch the flats.
We settled in a bit and went for a walk to get some fresh air and check out the area around our hotel. We discovered we were a stone’s throw from Cemberlitas, a historic column built by Constantine in 330 A.D. Supposedly when building it, the orb he carried was said to contain a fragment of the True Cross. And also at the foot of the column was a sanctuary which contained relics claimed to be from the crosses of the two thieves who were crucified with Jesus Christ at Calvary, the baskets from the loaves and fishes miracle, an alabaster ointment jar belonging to Mary Magdalane and presumably used by her for the washing of the feet of Jesus, the palladium of ancient Rome and a wooden statue of Athena from Troy. Obviously there’s no way to know if any of those items are really there, but sometimes folklore is just as much fun as actual history.
I found a shop and ordered a couple pastries containing sausage and potatoes. We did our best to stay up as long as possible to fight the effects of jet lag, but couldn’t make it past 9:30. I woke up at midnight, feeling refreshed and ready to go, so I did my best to go back to sleep and slept on and off the rest of the night, unable to relax and contain my excitement to explore the city.