Jacinto in Cairo

06 September 2006

Turkey, Part 1 - Istanbul

And just like that everything changes. The calendar becomes real. Summer ends and fall begins. Three mornings ago we sat on a bougainvillea-filled terrace looking out across the valley, past the ruins, over the sand dunes toward the endless sandy beach of Patara. Then last night at 1am I put our house guest and what remained of the summer in a taxi to Cairo International.

We spent over two weeks in Turkey, and right now I'm only up to writing a lil bit. So I'm gonna spread this stuff out over a few entries, going heavy on the photos.

We splurged on a hotel in touristy Sultanahmet and then got upgraded to the Ottoman suite. Turns out the whole trip was a splurge, Turkey being much more expensive than anticipated. Also, the country is in Europe. There's nothing really Middle Eastern (anymore) about the places we went.

Above is a view from our window. Below, see Bettina in front of the Hagia Sofia church-then-mosque-now-museum and a photo Bettina took inside.

There are amazing tiles inside, as well as gorgeous veined marble:

Here's a man who knits cute house slippers and sells them in the courtyard of the Blue Mosque:

A neat pavilion...

The Basilica Cistern, an underground water supply for an old emperor. Later people forgot it was there, accepting it as strange but true that they could go fishing down their toilets.

Water transportation is really one of the greatest things about Istanbul. For the same price as riding the subway or the bus, you load onto these massive ferries and sail around the Golden Horn, the Bosphorus, and the Sea of Marmara. Not only that, but they serve delicious tea in tulip glasses during your commute!

We ferried to the former fishing village of Ortakoy, with this lit-up mosque providing the bockdrop to cobblestone alleys lined with great market tables -- textiles, old prints, wooden boxes, jewelry. There's really amazing shopping to be done in Turkey. It's not cheap, but there's well-made stuff that you can get for less than in Europe and the US.

Coming up next, Kapadokya aka Cappadocia....


At 2:12 AM, Blogger guirilandia said...

It's great to see your perspective on this blog. Life from your side doesn't seem so two dimensional anymore

At 1:59 PM, Anonymous sultanahmet said...

Basilica Cistern is my dream building.


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