Istanbul - Sultanahmet
Trip Start Jul 31, 2006
20Trip End Aug 20, 2006
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Our first day in Turkey was jam packed full with sightseeing! First we had breakfast in the hotel up on the terrace. It was beautiful. We could see both the Marmar Sea and the Blue Mosque. The sun was shining. It was storybook! We ate scrumptious olives, bread, cheese (kinda like Ecuador's cheese), deviled eggs, coffee, juice, and some other things we're not sure of... like McDonald's hash browns but made with spinach and much less greasy!
Then we headed across the street (literally) to the Blue Mosque. We were surprised by the amount of tour buses and people that greeted us as we left the hotel! There were people from Korea, Spain, Germany, Italy, China, etc. So the dress was varied. And there were definitely people who didn't seem to care if they weren't following the guidebook suggestions. Furthermore, the Turks dress on a continuum as well. There are those that dress with modest western wear, those who wear a head scarf, and those who dress in black and only show their eyes (just the women of course)
Afterwards, we walked across the street to Aya Sofya, which was really amazing. The Christians originally built the church and then years and years later, the Muslims converted it after conquering the city. It was truly amazing!
Then we ate lunch and went to the Basilica Cistern, which is an underground system of columns which serves as a water storage and flood prevention tool in Roman times. We visited the Hippodrome and read about the imported Egyptian obelisk under the shade of a tree in the park... until the park guy wanted to water the grass we were sitting on. Ha! So we glady got up and let him do his job.
After that we went to the Museum of Islamic Art and looked at really old rugs and other trinkets. Then we ate ice-cream and drank water on a bench in the park. Then it was back to the hotel for a quick break
We finished our busy day by watching the dervish dancers at the main train station. This experience was truly awe inspiring. We tried to upload a short video clip for your viewing pleasure, however it is taking too long and I really need to get to bed! So that is the reason for this quick finish. We have much more to say, but the desire for sleep is much to strong to fight off now.
We love you all! Thanks so much for your messages: Sandra, mom, and Srikanth. It's good to know that there are people thinking about us back home!
Naty and Milo