Another Day, Another Bus

Trip Start Oct 22, 2005
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Trip End Ongoing


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Sunday, August 13, 2006

This time to Istanbul a place we had been looking forward to visiting. In all, it was just your standard bus trip for us; lots of stops for toilet breaks at massive bus stations which seem to be the hub of life for some of the small towns. Turkish movies, frequent drinks and of course the lovely lady sitting a row in front who feels the need to recline her seat back so far that it crushed Rick's knees into the back of the chair. Poor Rick seems to have very long legs from hip to knee and always struggles to have enough space on buses. The lovely lady took the space issue to a new dimension, despite the fact she was five foot nothing and her feet were dangling above the floor, she reclined the seat back as far as it would go with Rick's knees wedged in, preventing it from going any further. Not satisfied and obviously able to feel Rick's knees thrust into her back, she turned around and began yelling at him in Turkish, indicating that he should move his knees. Where she wanted him to put them we didn't know, perhaps detach them and put them in overhead locker? When Rick indicated that he couldn't move them she rambled away to the hostess and he leaned over and reclined Rick's seat back. This caused the guy behind Rick to start yelling at now being crushed himself. Finally after much discussion and many dirty looks from the lovely lady we managed to get her to put her seat forward the required half a centimeter so everyone was comfortable. After this theatrics the ride was uneventful.

We arrived in Istanbul after a few bus changes and were taken to the Sultanamet district in our own "private" bus (no one else wanted to go to Sultanamet) where after walking around for about half an hour, getting many rejections at the fully booked hostels, we finally managed to find a place to stay after midnight close to the Blue Mosque.

Getting up early we wanted to visit the Basilica Cistern. This is basically a huge underground chamber the Roman's built as a cistern. It's supported by many columns and is lit up. It was a great place to escape the heat of Istanbul. As the Blue Mosque was shut for the afternoon prayer session we walked through the Palace Gardens and sat down looking across the Bosporus Straight to Asia. It was weird knowing that we were sitting in Europe looking across to another continent, Istanbul being the only city to reside in two continents. Returning to the Blue Mosque we went inside, after Megan had been checked to see if she complied to the strict female dress requirements. Inside the mosque was interesting, the paintings and mosaics were great, but the smell of body and foot odour was a bit wrong. The mosque is one of the largest in the world, apart from the main mosque in Mecca, and has six minarets as sponsor, Sultan Ahmet, was the 6th sultan to rule after the conquest of Constantinople in 1617. It was also the Sultan's answer to the Aya Sofia. Once inside everything was okay until some lady approached Megan and began hassling her, jibbering away in Turkish. We think she was saying her head wasn't covered, even though three guys at the entrance had okay'd her after thoroughly inspecting her attire. Leaving the lady jibbering away, we walked outside to see the Aya Sofia. It was built over the ruins of two older churches in 537 by Justinian the Great who then ruled the Byzantine Empire. The Aya Sofia was a cathedral until the Turkish conquest of Constaninople in 1453 when it was turned into a mosque. The Moslems built four minerats at the corners of building at this time. Ataturk turned the mosque into a museum in 1935.

Status of Rick's hair: Slowly tanning. Hair starting to sprout.
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Comments

jossika
jossika on

Istanbul unique
Hi.I am traveling to istanbul and wonder what will be unique gift about istanbul that i can bring home as presents :)

Which place best in the city to search all these unique istanbul arts and other related stuff?

Thank you and happy traveling :)
jossika

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