Dec 122013
 

I’ll be up front here: I’m not going to do Istanbul justice. I’m not going to even pretend to. I landed at 9a, having been up since 1a Istanbul time, and I was pretty tired. My main goal was to rest up in between stops, maybe see a few things, and have some good Turkish food. I did alright all things considered!

Finally out of the hotel around 11:30 after I got checked in and re-caffeinated, and it was off to the old town. The hotel suggested I walk about 10-15 minutes to the nearest tram stop, and then take the tram all the way. Awesome call, because it allowed for seeing some of the city along the way.

Got to the old town, wandered a bit, and soon was coming up to the Blue Mosque.  Outside, is an obelisk:

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The outside of the Blue Mosque:

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…and the inside:

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Unfortunately, 10 minutes after I got inside it was prayer time, so they started to chase out all the sightseers.  Oh well, on to the Hagia Sofia it was!

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…Hagia Sofia selfie!

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Outside the Hagia Sofia I decided:  when/if I get reincarnated, I want to come back as a cat in a muslim country.  They wander around, fat and happy, and everyone treats them like royalty.

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One last shot of the Blue Mosque:

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At this point, I was seriously starting to fade, so I stopped for some strong coffee.  Fortified, I began the long trek back to the hotel.  The plan was not to take the tram back, but to wander back in pieces, using local transit and seeing things along the way.  First mission, was to try and find the shop selling baklava that I’d found years prior.  I had no clue where it really was, but then I turned a corner…and voila!

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View along the water:

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Walking back across the bridge, there were tons of people fishing:

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I wanted to take the Tunnel, the second oldest subway in the world, but had real trouble locating it.  Finally, I got lucky and just stumbled upon it.

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I was soon in Taksim Square and wandered for a bit, but was started to get really cold.  Quickest way back to my hotel was the Teleferik, a cable car across the park.  Fun!

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Cool thing I realized at this point, my day had consisted of:  private car, shuttle bus, plane, taxi, tram, subway, and cable car.  That’s a lot of modes of transit in one day!  I should have tried to take a ferry too, lol

 

By this point I’d been wandering over 6 hours, and was cold and frozen, but when I got back near my hotel kept wandering, looking for some cool little local bar/cafe to grab a drink and people watch.  Completely unable to find anything at all.  I got cold, jetlagged, and frustrated, so retreated to the hotel lounge which had….exactly zero other people in it.  But it DID have a drink called the Lady Gaga, lol

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Was hoping to find a good local turkish place for dinner, but the combo of being tired, cold, and the only real local options being fast food kebab type places made me admit defeat…and go to the hotel’s turkish restaurant.  I mean, any place that serves of Heroin can’t be all bad, right?

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Meal was tasty, but service was abysmal.  Incredibly slow, despite only being one of two tables in the restaurant.  That, topped with the crazy prices, would make me serious hesitant to recommend this unless you were in the same situation I was.  Tired, hungry, and unable/unwilling to leave.  That said, it was tasty enough!  Then, it was off to bed early…I figured I’d had a pretty good day of touring around the city considering jetlag:  I walked nearly 10 miles, saw quite a few things, and was absolutely beat.  The next morning, it was off to Moscow!


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