Monday, March 23, 2015

Three mosques and a big big market

Today dawned cloudier than yesterday. After breakfast I wandered along the water front for a bit but resisted taking a boat on the Bosphorus as it was too hazy.  I headed over to the New Mosque which was another beauty...completed in 1663 if you can call that new.  Behind the mosque was a small (once again relatively speaking) market that I wandered through until I came across yet another smaller mosque. 

I came to a smaller mosque in a market that was absolutely beautiful was not possible to get a photo of the outside - and let's face it they tend to look the same...but it was small but blue inside...they call it the real blue mosque. :)  Apparently it is considered one of the most possible mosques (inside) in the world...

Next up was the Sulymaniye Mosque which is Istanbul's most important mosque completed in 1557.  It is absolutely huge with a stunning view of the city and nice grounds.   I must say things were much quieter today!  I had a hard time finding it but finally got directions and off I went...huff puff up the hill....

I then had lunch...a lamb kebab which was pretty good but I am kebabed out now...sat outside which was nice. 

As the day wore on it got cooler and rained a bit as well....however next up was the Grand Bazaar....yikes.  It is huge and so much stuff and I didn't buy a single thing... I guess I was a bit underwhelmed - it is just a bigger verson of the many markets I have been in and it's very very confusing.  Because it was a slow day was constantly bothered by marketers although I must say they give up easily which is a good thing. The foodie in me prefers Borough Market - not the Chinese crap and cheap stuff at the bazaars.  I know what I want in Turkey...scarves, turkish delight and tea....I can get that at the shops up the street from the hotel.  Can you tell I'm not a shopper? 

All kinds of tea

No she wasn't for sale but wish she would find a good home - reminded me of someone!
I got misplaced coming out of one of the many entrances to the market but found my way to the tram line and followed it back to the hotel....

I must say they take care of their stray dogs here....dogs are picked up and vaccinated and spayed and sport a tag on their ear - all the dogs I saw had one of these.  They all look well fed as the local shopkeepers and residents put food and water out for them.  I know I shouldn't have but one mastiff came by and I noticed someone else petted her so I did and I ended up with a 125 pound (at least) dog laying on my feet wanting her tummy rubbed.  The cats look well cared for as well so it did my animal loving heart good. 

This morning I was informed that I was to change rooms and I assumed it was because I was officially on the tour I packed everything up...turns out Intrepid booked me into a shared room even though I paid for a private room and I had the paperwork to prove it.  So I am back into my own room (and a bit nicer than the last one).......I have been assured they will make sure I have my own room for the rest of the tour...I better! 

Anyway Hilary, a gal from Australia was who I would have shared with and she is great but don't want to inflict my snoring on anyone!  We had tea in the lobby and chatted then went up to the room as I needed to change - a knock on the door with a key to my own room...

At 6 we had our group meeting - there are 7 of us - one token male...four from Australia and three of us from down the road in I think it will be a great group.  Keemat is our guide and she seems great.

We went out for a meal tonight - had meatballs with fries and rice - they are really into that here.  It was pretty good but I am waiting for the Turkish food to wow me...can you believe I was the only one that didn't have wine or not have wine?  Just was not in the mood for it...I think I am having a mini middle of the trip exhaustion episode....I've been on the road for three and a half months and while I don't miss home at all I guess being on the road so long is taking its toll...hopefully I will perk up as this is probably the most intense two weeks of the whole trip.

Thank goodness we can leave stuff here....when I heard we had to take a tram to the bus on Wednesday morning I was absolutely horrified thinking how can I get that sucker on a tram (and that's with leaving a big bag full of stuff in London with Claudia) but I will go through my suitcase tomorrow and leave things that I won't need here like my dressier shoes...every little bit I don't have to carry will help.  I am trying not think of the trip home to Canada....when all my stuff comes together....

Tomorrow morning it's an orientation walk around the area - kind of a repeat for me but that's okay.  It's a fascinating city and there is always something new to see. 

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