Wednesday, March 6, 2013

What I Saw: The Last Days In Instanbul

In the Grand Bazaar

We returned from Cappadocia back to Istanbul to spend the last few days of our trip exploring the other parts of this enormous city. We walked around the Grand Bazaar and ended up purchasing a couple long coveted Turkish peshtamel towels from a shop that has been in business for over 100 years. 


Their shop cat had two different colored eyes and we were told that it was a special Turkish cat that comes from a village by a salt water lake. The cats are known to swim and fish from this lake. This guy looked like swimming was the last thing on his mind.


We had the chance to take a ferry down the Bosphorus and decided to make the trek up a very steep hill to see the ruins of Yoros Castle and hopefully get a glimpse of the Black Sea. Sadly, there was a ton of mist and it completely blocked our view at the top. 


The castle ruins were actually closed due to an archaeological dig. However the security guard at the top of the ruins motioned for us to come through a door in the wall and we got to walk around. There was a very sweet street dog keeping the guard company. He was very happy to make our acquaintance.


On another day we took another ferry along the Golden Horn. We made a stop to see Chora Church and the beautifully preserved and elaborate mosaics inside.


We walked around the very small village and found our way to the old city wall. We climbed to the top for an incredible view of Istanbul. I started getting a little bit nervous being up so high, specifically because at the very top of this portion of the wall there was a huge pit that went down several hundred feet. The majority of it was blocked by a metal railing. One small part of it was blocked off by some very flimsy wire. Not very safe.

What you can't tell from this picture are that the stairs are very narrow and steep. There are two more sets of stairs after this one required to get to the top of the wall.

We visited the Basilica Cistern, found underneath the Old City in Sultahnahmet. There were lots of enormous koi swimming around. Many were so fat they could barely move. Kind of gross but the Cistern itself was really amazing.

 A blurry photo of Jon with one of the two Medusa heads found in the Basilica Cistern.

The rest of the time was spent finding the best food in the area according to Istanbul Eats. Every recommendation they made was spot on and thanks to this site we had some the best meals of our entire trip. At dinner one evening Jon exclaimed "I feel like this is the food I've been waiting for!"

We had a great trip and a really wonderful time traveling together. Travel is a major passion for Jon and I'm more than happy to participate and to experience more of the world. We're already thinking about our next trip. Korea, Sweden, Croatia, Patagonia- there are so many places we want to go! We'll get to them all eventually.


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