Day 1: Aya Sofia + Blue Mosque + Basilica Cistern

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April 2nd 2011
Published: May 28th 2011
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I was woken up by the ray of sunshine as our plane is crossing over Iran. Its 10 hours flight from Singapore to Istanbul. I'm slightly tired yet happy: Our Turkey vacation finally arrived!

Arrival was a breeze. Just give your passport, pay the visa fee and the officer just put a sticker to your passport and that it. As we stay more than 3 nights in Hotel Erboy, we were picked up at the airport by private transfer. On the way to Sultanahmet, we were greeted by hints of spring as cherry blossom and tulip decorate sidewalks and parks.

After quick refresh, we walked to Aya Sofia. I'm prepared for a long queue as its Saturday, but its only like 7 mins queue (20 lira).

The museum was amazing ! Such a grand structure. Here and there you'll see the herd of tour group but if your patient enough, you'll find pocket of quietness as they move quite quickly.

Afterwards, we crossed over to Blue Mosque (free). As we are muslim, I've been to numerous mosques (including those in Mecca and Medina) so although the Blue Mosque is very nice, it didn't blew me away. So many tourists there. I'm a little bit annoyed by a group of tourist that were making fun of the prayer ritual moves and laughing, I think its insensitive, but I just moved away. To put things into perspective, other tourists are still paying respects.

Its already around 2 pm and we grab a late lunch at Cafe Amedros, which comes at 2nd place in Tripadvisor. It was a nice yet quite expensive meal.

It was a bit rainy and we want to take a rest. But we passed by Basilica Cistern on our way back and decided to popped by (15 lira). I didn't have high expectations after reading reviews and rightfully so. It was dark, red and wet (for some reason in several parts there are water dripping like rain). The medusa head was far back if you're interested. Mr R finds the place interesting though as its different vs other places we've visited.

At night we got complimentary dinner at Pasazade restaurant (which is rated no 1 in tripadvisor) from hotel Erboy . Before going to bed, I remember thinking - life is good 😊

Additional photos below
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Sultan's Chicken Roll @ PasazadeSultan's Chicken Roll @ Pasazade
Sultan's Chicken Roll @ Pasazade

My husband's favorite!

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