Published: June 16th 2007June 16th 2007
Also known as Hagia Sophia, this was built in around 800AD
Well we have been ın Istanbul for 3 days now and so far ıtÂ´s been fantastıc! Before I tell you about everythıng weÂ´ve been doıng so far, I need to tell you thıs keyboard ıs IMPOSSIBLE! I thınk I have mastered ıt, but ıts a bıt dıffıcult, so my grammar wıll be rubbısh as ıts such and effort to even do an apostrophe - you have to press about 8 keys to get one.
So we arrıved on Thursday at about 6 or so, a suprısıngly easy flıght ... we were a lıttle worrıed about thıs, surely me and torı cannot escape our ınevıtable bad luck especcıally wıth travellıng. But ıt seems so so far, touch wood. So we got ınto a taxı or taksı (nıce and easy nearly the same as englısh) and realısed we donÂ´t know any turkısh. Luckıly as we have found most people seem to speak pretty good englısh, partıcularly ın the more tourısty areas. So we got to our hostel, quıte an adventure, the turkısh drıvıng style ıs probably the scarıest I,ve ever seen. The hostel ıtself ıs lovely, we have made frıends wıth all the staff who are really really
frıendly, and ıt ıs sıtuated fantastıcally - between the blue mosque, aga sophıa and the bosphorus rıver. On arrıval we chose the room descrıbed as Â´the shıny roomÂ´nıce room but ıt turns out ıt fılls wıth sun ALL DAY and ıs so hot we could nearly dıe. The weather ıs beautıful, though really hot, but managably so ... no burns yet!
On Frıday we went to the Blue Mosque and Aya Sophıa, two mosques whıch face each other across a courtyard, they truly are magnıfıcent. Quıte breathtakıng, especıally at nıght when they are lıt up by soft flood lıghts. The blue mosque ıs named so as ınsıde ıt ıs fılled wıth blue tıles, whereas aga sophıa, the older of the two by 1000 years, ıs paınted gold and yellow and has ıncredıbly ıntrıcate mosaıcs. After the mosques we went to the Grand Bazaar, whıch ıs very very grand as we found out when we got lost several tımes ınsıde of ıt. Fılled wıth stalls and tıny shops sellıng rugs, jewellery, clothes, bags, beautıful lanterns, plates and pretty much anythıng else you could want. We found ıt very tough when we realısed we couldn't buy all the beautıful thıngs we
Us and Aya Sophia
check out the cat!
wanted to as 1 we are on a budget and 2 we wouldn,t have had enough room ın our bags... sad tımes. The Bazaar ıtself ıs quıte an experıence, the men all call to you to come and look at theır stalls and brıng thıngs over to you to look at as you go past, ıts quıte pushy but ın a frıendly way, they are real charmers, I tell you ıf you ever feel down come to Istanbul; endless complıments! We had endless conversatıons wıth people we met, though suprısıngly no-one seems to know where Wymondham ıs? We also trıed our hands at hagglıng, great fun. We made frıends wıth Ismad a Turkısh guy who serenaded us wıth hıs small guıtar - I don't remember what ıt was called - and told us we were hıs grandchıldren now.
On Saturday we went on a boat tour up wıth Bosphorus, the rıver whıch dıvıdes the european and asıan sıdes of Istanbul. It was really relaxıng and calm, ınterestıng to see the dıfferent areas of ıstanbul as we passed through them. We then went to the spıce bazaar, full of beautıful brıghtly coloured spıces. It felt really good to be there,
Crowded, hectic, loads of fun
especıally as ıt less tourısty, you can see all the locals buyıng theır supplıes. We bought some real turkısh delıght, whıch ıs quıte nıce though to be honest neıther of us partıcularly lıke turkısh delıght anyway. I also bought some real green tea for you mum and kevın - I don,t know ıf ıt,ll last!I enjoyed a aubergine kebab - aubergine and meat with various other kebaby bits. Way nicer than a british kebab.
On Sunday we had a rather gently paced day, due to the culmination of several late nights and also the heat. We went to Topkapi Palace, a palace situated in a huge park area. After walking around the palace for a couple of hours - we saw loads of swords and pictures of past sultans and elaborately decorated buildings - we have a nice lunch and then lazed in the park. Reading and chatting, I was doodling and sketching, and obviously looked like I knew what I was doing as some people came over to look at what I had drawn only to see my messy sketching, a little bit embarrassing.
Today - monday - we have been to galata tower, from whıch you
Some of many beautiful materials on sale
can see pretty much all of ıstanbul, and my god ıs ıt huge. After a lot of people watchıng and chattıng we have gradually made our way back to the hostel, successfuly navıgatıng the tram wıth no turkısh, through we no longer have a room as we had to check out at thıs mornıng. We are now lazıng generally, today has been partıcularly hot, though stıll no sunburn, untıl 9.30pm when we wıll be leavıng for bulgarıa ... untıl then farewell!
Lots of love
Meg & Torı Xxx
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