Plain Old Tourist Stuff

Gladly☺️ There were people in the streets today, and it seems things are starting to get on as normal.

I went down Istiklal Street today and paid my respects at the memorial left for the victims of the attack.

memorial for the victims of the suicide bomber on istiklal street

memorial for the victims of the suicide bomber on istiklal street

a couple news crews were there

a couple news crews were there

Chilling.

Laura, Jan and I saw almost all of the ‘touristy’ stuff that I had in mind to see. The “Historic Areas of Istanbul” are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is basically saying the entire city should be preserved. This is the UNESCO description:

With its strategic location on the Bosphorus peninsula between the Balkans and Anatolia, the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, Istanbul has been associated with major political, religious and artistic events for more than 2,000 years. Its masterpieces include the ancient Hippodrome of Constantine, the 6th-century Hagia Sophia and the 16th-century Süleymaniye Mosque, all now under threat from population pressure, industrial pollution and uncontrolled urbanization.

This is what we toured:

  • Hagia Sophia

Built in the 6th Century, originally a cathedral for ~900 years, then turned into a mosque for ~500 years, and then turned into a museum about 90 years ago, which is how it is now (and being renovated currently).

hagia sophia

hagia sophia

hagia sophia

hagia sophia

inside hagia sophia

inside hagia sophia

windows

windows

hagia sophia

hagia sophia

hagia sophia

hagia sophia

sherbet vase

sherbet jar

  • Topkapi Palace Museum

Built in the 15th century, it was a major residence for Ottoman sultans. It’s huge, we got lost in all of the courtyards and buildings and rooms. It also has a harem to tour, but you had to pay extra for it… Laura and I passed, but Jan went (hmmmm😳😘).

courtyard in topkapi palace

courtyard in topkapi palace

cool room, called circumcision room for obvious reasons, in the palace

beautiful tiled room. called circumcision room, for obvious reasons

Pictures weren’t allowed in the rooms with the jewels, so I had to sneak.

jewels in the topkapi palace museum

jewels in the topkapi palace museum

This is called the Spoonmaker’s Diamond. It’s 86 carats, and the story is that hundreds of years ago (not sure exactly when), this regular dude was sifting through some trash and found this. He took it to a jeweler, and the jeweler told him it was glass, so he sold it to the jeweler for 3 spoons!😳 That’s like buying a lottery ticket, gifting it to someone, and it being the big winner. I hope those 3 spoons were really, really good spoons.

86-carat diamond (4th largest in the world)

86-carat diamond (4th largest in the world)

beautiful tiles

beautiful tiles

i dunno.

i dunno.

  • Bosphorus Strait

The strait separates Asia and Europe, and it connects the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara. It kind of goes through the middle of Istanbul, so there is stuff on both sides that you need to see. So, we used the Bosphorus Bridge a lot, via tram / tunnel / and walking.

view of bosphorus straight from Hamdi Restaurant (old town side)

view of bosphorus straight from Hamdi Restaurant (old town side). GREAT food here.

fishing off of the bosphorous bridge😂

fishing off of the bosphorus bridge😂

old town side, blue mosque across the bosphorus

from the bridge

eateries on the bosphorus

eateries on the bosphorus

it was cold

missssss you (it was cold)

We also took a boat tour on the Bosphorus, just to see more of Istanbul. It was nice, and really relaxing. Lots of Istanbul to see!

from boat cruise

from boat cruise

by the bosphorus strait

by the bosphorus strait

me & jan

me & jan – on boat top deck

  • Istanbul Archaeological Museum

Cool stuff that is older than seems possible… more Greek artifacts than in Greece.

istanbul archaeological museum

istanbul archaeological museum

something was missing from EVERY statue (there were probably 200 in the whole museum). i don't understand. one of life's great mysteries.

something was missing from EVERY statue (there were probably 200 in the whole museum). i don’t understand. other museums don’t do this. one of life’s great mysteries.

  • Galata Tower

Built in the 14th Century and was the tallest structure in the city when it was built. It was used as a watch tower over the strait. My first apartment was only a few steps away from it☺️.

galata tower!

galata tower!

galata tower from vault karakoy hotel rooftop

galata tower from vault karakoy hotel rooftop

mi casa

mi casa

mi kitchen \

mi kitchen

  • Basilica Cisterns

Built in the 4th Century, it provided water for the city. It’s the largest part of a bigger cistern system. This was really cool to see. There is a scene from From Russia with Love that is filmed in the cisterns.

cisterns!

cisterns!

ottoman costume

ottoman costume

built in the 6th century

built in the 6th century

cisterns

cisterns

fishes

fishes

medusa head column

medusa head column

cistern column

cistern column

  • Karakoy neighborhood (where we stayed)…
view from vault house hotel

view from vault karakoy house hotel

I had a crush on our waiter, Mustafa (goes by ‘Moosty’). When I told him I was going to take a picture of him, he told me to be sure and get his watch in the photo😂😂.

mustafa "moosty", our favorite waiter, explaining how to drink raki, the national liquor

moosty (and his watch), explaining how to drink raki, the national liquor (not sure?)

heyyy jan and best bartender😘

heyyy jan and favorite bartender😘

view from hotel across the bosphorus

view from hotel across the bosphorus

smiiile

smiiile

  • Grand Bazaar!

Ridiculously huge. It was a labyrinth. If you saw an item and didn’t buy it right away, forget ever seeing it again because it was impossible to find your way in there – it’s a total maze. It was beautiful and AWESOME. My favorite thing I’ve done in Istanbul. Started being built in the 1400s… It employees over 20,000 people!It’s over 330,000 square feetRent average is $3,500 per square meter, per month.

aerial view

aerial view

grand bazaar

grand bazaar

grand bazaar

grand bazaar

grand bazaar!

beautiful grand bazaar!

  • Kadikoy / Moda neighborhoods (Asian side)

We walked around here one day to explore the area. Really cool streets and part of the city. There are ferries that depart regularly from the other side of the Bosphorus, going to Kadikoy – it’s about a 15 minute ride and costs $1. Public transit here, like most of Europe, is great.

or moda?

the water

kadikoy?

kadikoy? or moda?

friends sunbathing on the rocks

friends sunbathing on the rocks

sailboat

sailboat

There was more to it – cute streets, etc., but I guess I didn’t take many pictures!

  • Other stuff…
OMG. look Laura: MEG RYAN!!!!

OMG. look Laura: MEG RYAN!!!!

someone smiles more than someone else

someone smiles more than someone else. despite smile, I look demented.

Somewhere between Hagia Sophia and the Palace, I dropped my camera for the 50th time and broke the screen😢 Luckily, I had someone smart with me who told me, “Oh, just use the viewfinder.” And guess what??? I CAN DO EVERYTHING WITH THE VIEWFINDER!! Thanks Jan❤️.

broke my screen:/ must now use view finder

broke my screen:/ so I discovered how to use the viewfinder😃

Good name for a gym!!

bfit gym😂

bfit gym😂

tram

tram, mosque in background

mosque at night

mosque at night

subway

subway

*Now, to overdramatize Laura and Jan leaving, I shall use phrases from Shakespeare to illustrate my emotions.*

And then, just like that, they left me. Cruel and heartless abandonment. How will I go on??? Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow.

DON'T LEAVE ME😩

parting is such sweet sorrow😩

Alas, I’m alone again. What’s done is done. But there is a tide in the affairs of men, and I must push onward. Once more unto the breach, dear friends! To experience the world and live out my dreams… solo. Heavy is the head that wears the crown.

Where shall we three meet again In thunder, lightning, or in rain?

When shall we three meet again?
In thunder, lightning, or in rain?

Exeunt.

 

Next up: Ephesus

6 Comments on “Plain Old Tourist Stuff

  1. I can’t believe you found a bFit gym! And I can’t believe how long your hair is getting. You have been gone too long – come home!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, I had to get it trimmed.. U know you’re on a long trip when you have to get a haircut along the way😂

      Like

  2. I could spend all day or week at the bazaar! Did you get anything from there? It looks like you could find everything you’d ever need

    Liked by 1 person

    • I got a little distracted because I met this amazing Iraqi dude who was an interpreter for the US army when I was there😊 now he lives in Istanbul. My friends bought Tea glasses, scarf, some ceramics, coasters, things with the blue tiles… They had everything there! We were in search of a guitar pick that we saw earlier, but the effort was futile – once you see something, if u dont buy it, u will neverrrr find it again in the labyrinth😂 From another place, I got the traditional turkish hourglass shape tea glasses. I will look at the glasses and always think of turkey😍

      Like

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