Big day exploring today. Woke up early after big sleep to catch up. Had breakfast on the rooftop of our hotel with amazing views (will put some photos up tomorrow of that).
Went down to the historic part of Sultanahmet (the area we are staying in) went to go to the Blue Mosque and read the information at the gate – no bare shoulders/knees and not shorts. Hmmm so off we went back to the hotel I put a longer dress on and got my scarf, Trevor put his jeans on.
Trev thought we should take a ‘short cut’ back to the Blue Mosque, so we ended up walking past a small ceramics shop, the guy dragged us in and we were there for ages, made a couple of purchases (probably ripped off) but he was a nice guy compared to the hassle that some give you. Then after all that, walked back to the Mosque, turns out they loan you the stuff if you don’t arrive with it haha, anyway my dress wasn’t long enough and I had to put one of their skirts on. Trev could have put one on too over his shorts (look at the guy in the photo behind me lol.
We have noticed in some of the gardens around Istanbul that there are these bushes which they must weave and prune to make them grow like this, pretty cool.
After the Blue Mosque we went to Hagia Sophia, this was amazing just for the shear wearing of millions of feet on the marble floors, incredible.
We wondered around and came accross a local artisan group who were in a courtyard with small classrooms around the edge where they taught the Turkish handcrafts of pottery, painting, marbling, ceramics, paper cutting etc you could take a day class there, great idea.
Then we wondered off to the underground cisterns, these were built by the romans to hold water for the nearby palace and are huge with big columns and some water still in them.
Had some lunch and got talking with the waiter it is now day 15 of Ramadan (which lasts for 30 days) they can’t eat before 8.30 at night and a lot of the restaurants and cafes are finding it tough on business. BUT at 6 o’clock at night they all come out and congregate around the blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia to socialise and then eat after 8.30. There are thousands of people. We wandered around this area this morning and it was very quiet, tonight was packed.
Everywhere you go there are cats, the only dogs you see are big ones like German shepherds or similiar.
After the cisterns we wondered down towards the waterfront. Came across the spice bazaar. The area around our hotel was quite quiet, but thousands of people were down at the spice market and waterfront. There was a bridge with traffic and people fishing on the top of it and underneath were lovely restaurants, they were catching quite small fish.
THe internet at the hotel is woeful and sometimes it won’t load photos, so fingers crossed this all comes out okay.