Homer's Travels: 2022 Fall Travels, Part Two - Turkey - Istanbul

Friday, November 11, 2022

2022 Fall Travels, Part Two - Turkey - Istanbul

 We left Israel behind and flew to Istanbul, Turkey (Their official name is now Türkiye. To avoid confusion I will stick with the old name of Turkey).  We arrived late afternoon , were picked up, and dropped off at our hotel overlooking the Bosporus.  We had two full days on our own before our tour started.  We'd asked the BM and MoH for ideas of what to do as they'd been to Turkey a few years ago.  The Wife came up with two places.  The first, a church, was closed (it is being converted into a Mosque which is a whole can o' worms).  The other was the Great Palace Mosaics museum.

A tiger mosaic at the Great Palace Mosaics museum.
On our first free day we took a taxi to the mosaics museum.  It was raining when we left the hotel but the rained turned to drizzle and then stopped all together soon after arriving at the museum. The museum is located near the Arasta Bazaar, the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia.  We explored the mosaics museum.  It is small but interesting.

After learning about the mosaics we perused the shops in the bazaar and started our magnet and souvenir purchases.  I asked a man about some candy they were selling.  The person who picked us up at the airport had given a box of it as a welcome gift.  It was Turkish Delight.  I'd heard of Turkish delight before but I'd never actually seen it before.  There are many varieties and I did partake during the two weeks we were in Turkey.  We bought our first cool souvenir: a porcelain dervish (yes, it survived the next five weeks without damage).

The Hagia Sophia as seen from the Sultan Ahmet park.
The Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia were both on our tour itinerary so we took some exterior pictures only.  We sat on a bench in Sultan Ahmet Park and people watched.  We heard the call to prayer while we sat there - the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia took turns chanting back and forth.  It was a nice relaxing way to start in Istanbul.  We walked to a nearby taxi stand and went back to our hotel.

The view of the Bosporus from our hotel room.
The next day I wanted to just relax, rest up for the tour, and go through my Israel pictures.  The Wife went to a Hammam and was pampered like a Turkish Princess.

We were met by our Istanbul guide (each region of Turkey we went to had a different guide) and a couple from Georgia who would be our tour mates.  We headed back to where we'd been a couple days before and toured the Blue Mosque (currently being renovated so parts of the interior are hidden behind scaffolding).  Next we crossed the park and went into the Hagia Sophia.  Both places were magnificent and full of history.

The interior of the Hagia Sophia.
It was lunch time and we went to a local restaurant serving food from Turkey and Crete.  The served us too much food.  This would start a trend.  The Turkish people, and our guides, wanted us to feast at nearly every meal and I don't think we had any meal shorter than two hours long. It was all so good but way too much.

We visited one of the underground cisterns which were all lit up and looked amazing.  I dropped my camera lens cap in the water and had to wait for someone to fish it out for me ... kind of embarrassing. 

The Basilica Cistern was made using recycled columns.
We ended the day with a relaxing cruise on the Bosporus where we could see all the palaces built along the water.

Armor at the Topkapi Palace museum.
Our second tour day in Istanbul we explored the Topkapi Palace, home of the Ottoman Sultans.  The palace is now a museum with several displays of Ottoman history.

Next we went to the Grand Bazaar to do some shopping.  It was busy, crowded, loud, and a bit overwhelming and we left there empty handed.  The group walked from there through the narrow streets of Istanbul to the Egyptian Spice Bazaar.  By the time we got there we were all tired and we didn't spend very much time there.  I did buy some Turkish Delight there.

The next day we would leave Istanbul and begin exploring the amazing land of Cappadocia.

Photos can be found in my Turkey 2022-09 Google Photos album.

No comments:

Post a Comment