Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Wow, Wednesday's already over. Today we ventured just a bit beyond what we knew yesterday, even daring the venture beyond the touristy area in which we are staying. Yes, although Sultanahmet (the section where our hotel is) is famous for the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace and others, the entrances to those places are literally crowded with street vendors shoving crap in your face and the streets are lined with the same five souvenir shops over and over. Once you develop a thick skin, though, and focus on being amazed by the incredible architecture and delicious food, it all seems to melt away.

Istanbul was once the capital of the mightiest Islamic empire the world has ever seen, and it shows. There is nowhere you can walk without being in the shadow of the towering minarets of the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, or one of the other dozens of huge mosques in this area. There's an interesting blend of Greek, Turkish, Arab, 19th-cent. European and modern styles of architecture all within a few meters of each other, and the same could be said for Turkish fashion.
(Above: An iPhone ad, a 19th-cent. European-style building, and the Hagia Sophia in the background)

Later this evening, we took the tram across the Golden Horn (see map) to Beyoglu, a lively nightlife district. Hannah even found a trendy secondhand-clothes store and bought a shirt that Amelia would envy. Tomorrow we plan to tackle the legendary Hagia Sophia and perhaps other must-sees before venturing off to the Izmir-Ephesus area on Saturday. Oh shoot, we don't know how we're getting down there, nor do we have a place to stay on Friday night. Night bus, perhaps? More details to come.

Tomorrow (Thursday), I'll post a video that Hannah cut together featuring some footage of the Blue Mosque's interior. I'm too tired to wrestle with Turkish-language Blogspot's error messages at the moment.


Amelia said...

Hmmmm....Shirt I would envy! It sounds like you guys are having a great time, and I am fairly envious of the whole trip. Say hi to the Hagia Sophia for me, okay!

Kiki said...

I cannot WAIT to see photos!