Tuesday, May 19, 2015

MENU's Aegean Odyssey. Day 2, Istanbul: Grand Bazaar, Bosporus, Blue Mosque, Cisterns

On our second day in Istanbul, we decided to visit the Grand Bazaar
 a huge warren of arch ceilinged passages
 with a vast variety of jewellery, textiles and carpets
ceramics 
 a few teas
and spices
 Much of it expensive, some interesting and some not very good
 and some of it excellent
 The alleys we followed behind the bazaar were full of wholesalers selling textiles and clothing ...
... small "hole in the wall" places for a take out lunch
we could see rice, chickpeas, and chicken 
Lynne (an ex jeweller) was fascinated to find this man breaking up old broken bits. She bought two interesting pieces for 15 TLira 
Turkish variety of "Car" seats for children 
Down the steep hill in the scarf & textile area 
Some incredible old buildings with modern shops beneath 
Here you could buy underwear: 4 vests for 4 TL, or a wedding gown, or baby clothes
Or dress your children as Pashas
We loved the Hil FIGER  blue jeans
Three billy goats gruff
Lynne was taken by these beautiful bejewelled fabrics which you sew onto an evening dress to turn it into something spectacular and couture. We did not ask the price
The New Mosque and the unpleasant restaurant
where we had an indifferent lunch.
When we checked our map, 
we were amazed at how far we had walked
The food was ordinary, the service appalling
We asked for chicken doner kebabs; we were served the expensive 'undone' version
The chicken and the chips were dried out and tasteless. 
We called for yoghurt and chilli to add some moisture and flavour and made up our own
They sneakily added (and took) service to the bill, 
which we did not want to pay. 
If only we'd had the right change...
The Istanbul Commodity Exchange in a very old building
We found the dock side with a view of the ferries 
and the bridge over the Bosporus
We were on a ferry very similar to the one on the left 
The Galata Tower from our afternoon Bosporus ferry trip
Beware of ticket touts who charge 50 TL pp to go on a small, rickety ferry
The official ferry cost just 12TL pp for a 2½ hr trip
The Bosporus is extremely busy 
with ferries, barges and huge ships 
Boarding the ferry
Lots of international tourists on board
Old and modern are mixed in Istanbul
The ferry made one stop at the Bosporus Bridge 
which is right in front of a mosque 
We thought this huge ship was going to collide with us 
but she turned amazingly quickly
The Maidens' Tower
Touring can be tiring 
We went quite a long way up the Bosporus and saw the smaller expensive ferries alongside us
We next took the trolley up the hill to the Blue Mosque
Magnificent minarets
Waiting in the central courtyard till prayers are over at 5.30
The main Dome
The blue stained glass windows and the huge 'elephants feet' support pillars 
A detail shot of some of the beautiful blue tiles
More details. This was built in 
It is very dark inside the mosque at 5.30, 
but John's camera does capture the blue light
These two young Turkish lasses asked him 
to take their photograph with their phone
The magnificent stained glass windows 
and Lynne being respectful 
Hagia Sophia, built as a church by Justinian in 532-537, it was the most important church in Christianity for 1000 years, then became a mosque, now is a museum. It closed as we got there; we had to return next day
  A hooded crow
They are everywhere, like starlings at home
 Local stray dogs are tagged and left to fend for themselves, as are the many stray cats
It broke our hearts, some of these are pedigree dogs
They are fed by the city and the community
Afternoon nap
They are everywhere
Into the Cisterns, built by Emperor Justinian, 527-565 AD
 Magnificent domed roof and a selection of different columns to support it, with the water for the city below
The water is full of koi and other fish, coins thrown by visitors, and is very clear
The lighting is superb, but John's camera enhances light; it is actually much darker than this
Justinian reused older statues and columns. 
This is one of two Medusa heads he used as a column support
Being ambushed into a carpet sellers dungeon, we were not the only customers 
The psychology used is clever and persuasive, unless you have experienced it before, as Lynne has. She enjoyed the apple tea and the sit down very much and resisted all temptation 
The tram is modern, fast and quiet 
Walking from the tram back to our apartment area, lots of street life
We could not resist this local baker selling interesting local savoury and sweet pastries. We bought some meat stuffed borek and the cheesy pasta on the right which we thought was a cheese pie. Neither was great, sadly
Small roadside restaurant seating, not at all tempting. We had a take away chicken at home, quite exhausted from the huge range we covered
How do they keep the glasses on the tables?
To visit yesterday's instalment click here
and here for Day 3
RETURN TO MENU
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2015
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