Istanbul: Saturday Diary

Let’s start with an embarrassing story…We’re on the Metro heading into the city center on Saturday morning.  It’s busy but not really crowded.  The train is coming to a stop & everyone is moving toward the door to exit.  Not knowing where we are going & not wanted to get lost I loop my arm around Pete’s.  Except when I loop arms the man jerks a little & looks down at me.  At almost the same moment I realize that the arm I’m holding is clad with a jacket much softer than the one Pete is wearing.  I look up.  Black coat, tall, dark features…but not Pete.  Great, I’ve just cozied up to a Turkish stranger.  I start apologize profusely.  Luckily he thought it was a bit funny.  I find the real Pete laughing at what just transpired.

Moving on.  Saturday we woke up to rain & therefore decided to hit the indoor attractions starting with the Archaeological Museum.  It’s huge & filled with lots of history, mummies & sarcophaguses, including Alexander the Great’s sarcophagus (photos in previous post).  We rented audio tour guides but instead of having too much information like they usually do, the narrative was brief, leaving something to be desired.  This was true of all the audio guides we rented.

It was still raining when we were through with Archaeological Museum, so we headed to the Grand Bazaar – a HUGE indoor market.  We wandered for a while & enjoyed the atmosphere of shop keepers trying to get you to buy their goods.  Oh ya, we saw Pamela Anderson shopping with her entourage.  For lunch we stopped at a Turkish restaurant near the market.  At this point the sun was being to creep out & we started wandering around the city & found ourselves at a huge mosque – not the Blue Mosque but almost at big.

At the entrance to each mosque there is a station where you must take off your shoes.  They offer little plastic bags to put them in & carry them around in the mosque.  There are signs asking women to cover their heads & if you are wearing a skirt above the knee you will be given a piece of fabric to wrap around your waist to cover your legs.  The mosques are grand, beautiful & exquisite detail on the walls & ceiling.  Not sure my little video does the place justice but it gives you an idea what the inside of the Blue Mosque looks like.

We arrived at the Ayasofya Museum & the Palace after they were closed but were able to visit the Blue Mosque.  At this point the sun was starting to set & I wanted to find a rooftop that we could take pictures from…so we did what we usually do when we need someone to help us, find the nearest nice hotel – this time it was the Four Seasons.  They recommended a restaurant & we went there for sunset pictures & an Efes (Turkish beer).  Then we made our way back to the hotel.

We attempted to have dinner at the hotel but there was something wrong with their restaurant, very odd & one of many issues we had with the place.  Lucky for us they upgraded us to a “suite” – a bigger room.  It ended up working out & we found ourselves heading to Taksim Square for a nice Turkish dinner of chicken & lamb kabab.

The cab that brought us from Taksim Square back to the hotel had zero clue how to get to the hotel.  He was asking us for directions in Turkish – and no, neither of us speaks the language.  He had to flag down two cabs to ask for directions & we had to navigate when we finally realized where we were.  Not going to lie, I was a bit nervous he was going to kill us or sell us to the highest bidder.


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