Black Sea Cruise: Istanbul

Day 2, Istanbul

The day started lovely, on the roof of our hotel where we were having
breakfast with a  full view of the Blue Mosque on one side and the
Bosporus  on the other.  From the roof, Istanbul looked better,
washed over by the dim morning sunlight.  The streets below were
narrow, cobblestone, lined with ottoman-style houses on either side.
This neighborhood, although completely touristy, did have some charm.
We went to the Blue Mosque – the biggest mosque in town.  I have to
say, it is quite nice of the Turkish people to let us in.  Very
different from the rest of the Muslim world where they don’t let
infidels soil the purity of their places of worship.  The mosque was
peaceful, nice architectural space with the de rigueur tiled interior.
The next stop – Hadgia Sophia – once the biggest church in the
Christendom, then a mosque, now a museum.  Impressive to no end,
considering that it was built in the 6th century but still boasting several
mosaics from then and the later 11th century.
Next stop – underground cisterns, also circa 590’s, build by the
Romans and still standing – these guys sure knew something about
quality construction!
Off to the Grand Bazaar which looked more like an upscale mall with
painted arched ceiling and glitzy window displays.
We ate a nice Turkish pancake filled with Feta in a charmingly
authentic restaurant – completing the well spent day.
We then embarked onto our home away from home for the next 12 days and
had dinner with Kenny’s new internet friends.
The goal for tomorrow to try and find where the rich people live or
play and to explore some more modern neighborhoods.

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