Thursday, January 28, 2010

Istanbul - 26 Jun 2009

Happy new year!
We're going back in time.

Istanbul is a gem. It’s such a lovely city, and when we were there it was fantastically warm. It was a quick trip but everything is so close together we managed to see almost everything in just three days.
We went to some amazing places. My favourite was the Basilica Cistern which was eerily beautiful, and considering the heat, wonderfully cool. Drops of water sporadically splashed down upon us, just enough to add to the atmosphere and make me jump. Carp swim around in the cistern, and some of them have grown HUGE. Apparently, before the cistern was re-discovered, people would lower buckets into holes in their basements and bring up water and on occasion, carp.
Topkapı Palace was enormous. Once again, the heat made the day a little difficult, but the clear skies made for some spectacular views. I got to view what is said to be the Prophet Muhammad's cloak and sword, some amazing Ottoman art, and a huge horde of diamonds. The crowds were tough going sometimes, but to see such treasure was worth it.
I got some lovely jewellery from the Grand Bazaar, which was chaotic but fun. Thousands of stalls all crowded together with spices , lamps and jewellery and all sorts of crazy things. Gill and I agreed to meet up with my parents out the front, only we failed to realise that there were 7 front gates! Of course it’s much cheaper to buy jewellery from the street, but it’s just not as much fun.
There is just too much to write about Istanbul. The beautiful Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque were also stunning, and there is absolutely no way I can do them justice here. Photos will have to suffice.
Istanbul was so absurdly impressive that I’ll be going back in February.
This has nothing to do with anything, but for some reason, there are a lot of stray cats just wandering around. Kittens were everywhere. Poor Gill even had to save a tiny one from being run over as it had decided that the road was an excellent place for a nap.
He wouldn’t let me keep it.

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