This morning (Thursday), Michael had some work that he needed to do so he set himself up on the patio of our room. He kept hearing this little squeaky sound and soon realized that there was a Mother and baby Seagull on the roof just by where he was sitting.
There are two other slightly older chicks on the roof just opposite our room. We have enjoyed watching them try out their wings by “flying” just above the roof and stopping right before they go over the side. Typical kids driving their parents crazy!!!!
While poor Michael was chained to his computer, I went sightseeing. The first stop was the obelisk just down the street from our hotel. I was afraid that we had become so used to seeing it that we would forget to photograph it!!!
This is always one of the landmarks that we look for when we are trying to wind our way back to our room!!
Everything that I wanted/needed to do was not yet open so I decided to try the Blue Mosque again……BAD idea….. Each little group of people had a round sticker on their shirt that had a number on it and that number corresponded with their guide’s number. It was amazing the number of hawkers that were out and about and quickly selling their wares.
Finally it was 9:00am and I could enter the first of the museums on my newly purchased Museum pass…..the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts which is housed in the Ibraham Pasa Palace. It sits directly across from the Blue Mosque courtyard.
Naturally, since it was a museum, I spent most of my time looking for lines and patterns that I liked.
I did try one trick that I had read about. Since you were not allowed to use a flash in the galleries, it was difficult to take photos that weren’t slightly blurry. This was mainly because, when you clicked the shutter, you would move the camera a small bit. So, I set the camera up to use a 2 second delay timer. That way I could click the shutter and have two seconds to position myself and hold still. It worked very well!!!!
Here are a few of the things that I liked best in this museum……
And these next two pots of flowers caught my eye as well…. The museum was very well presented and for much of the time, it was just me and the guards. I am sure that they wondered exactly WHAT I was taking photos of and I know that they were waiting to be able to yell “NO FLASH”!!
As always the stupendous Blue Mosque towers over everything….. Although it is fairly hard to see, the cross-hatch work on this door was magnificent….. I stopped by the bathroom on my way out of the museum and saw a wonderful tile design in there. I assumed that it was ok to use the flash….so I did!!!
My next stop was to the Hagia Sophia (Aya Sophia) museum. This is another one of those structures that was built as a church in 532 AD, then the Ottoman’s turned it into a Mosque and now has finally become a museum.
This is where my wonderful Museum Pass came in handy. As I approached the museum entrance, there were hundreds of people standing in lines to purchase tickets, with a police guard ushering them into different lines. When he saw the pass in my hand, he motioned for me to go straight ahead and skip all of the line.
Then came the tour groups. They all entered at one time (just ahead of me) and turned left. SO, I quickly turned right and ran into one of my favorite exhibitions. There were hundreds of paintings that were done using the calligraphy techniques that we have seen many times in the trip.
As I left this area, I signed the guest book by saying that “this exhibit was a wonderful use of words.”
I love the way that these chandeliers' add to the look of the area.
Here I saw an interaction that I found interesting. There was a woman dressed in a full Burka, including gloves, so that the only portion of her that showed was the slit around her eyes. She was sitting nicely on the steps with her hands in her lap and posing while her husband took a photo of her.
I enjoyed being closer to the top of the church and getting an even better view of the architecture…..
There was one family that were setting their daughters on the ledge overlooking the floor of the Mosque so that they could take a photo. One of the guards came running over and insisted that they move off the ledge…..I agreed wholeheartedly.
One more photo to look at a few windows and arches…..
As I left the museum, I saw a sign that the Mausoleum was very close so I decided to check it out as well.
I had to take off my shoes as I entered and was met with felt covered tombs with funky little fabric “crowns” on them. I am assuming that these signify people that were direct descendants to the throne.
By now I was tired of taking my shoes off and on and decided to head back to the hotel, which was fortunate, because Michael called to say that he was ready for lunch and could we meet someplace.
As I am talking to him on the phone I kept hearing a vroom from a motorcycle and then saw this flying across the sky…..I stopped to watch a few more jumps and then turned around and had to reorient myself.
First of all, find the Hagia Sophia, then find the Blue Mosque, walk past the fountain, walk thru the bus tour hawkers while continually shaking your head no (I do not want to ride across the Bosphorus), find the two columns in front of the Blue Mosque and then find the best sight of all…..Michael walking toward me!!!!
We decided to go back to Buhara 93 for lunch and this time to have the Pide….
Two women came and sat at the table nearest to us and the younger started talking to us and asking where we were from…..
The older woman reached into her bag and produced a cucumber and a pepper for us to enjoy with our meal…..
Now we normally try not to eat things that are not peeled, but that plan fell apart VERY early in the trip. But, eating vegies that we know nothing about….that is another worry. However, there was NO way that we were not going to eat these items that were so sweetly given to us. After Michael quietly intoned “we are going to die from Salmonella, Typhoid or Tetanus” , we both chanted our mantra of “we have antibiotics”!!!!
We left the restaurant and started walking down the street, heading to the coastline that we could see in the near distance. However, before we got very far, we found a small Mosque and decided to make a quick visit before time for Noon time prayer.
As we entered and were removing our shoes, I was amused to find this long handled shoe horn laying on the step, and I actually saw two people use it when they came out after prayer time…..
This little Mosque was very simple with small touches of blue and, as usual, lots of light……
There were carpeted stairs that led to the upper floor of the Mosque. They were very uneven and worn from hundreds of years of use. You could even feel undulations thru the carpet as you walked on the upper floor.
There was one spot where you could look across the sanctuary to a matching window on the other side. We both had the idea to take a picture of the other one. When I see them I feel like I am in one of the pictures at Hogwarts!!!
I woke up the other night wondering if all of the Mosques point to the East….toward Mecca. Today I found out the answer. The Mosque itself did not point East, however the designs on the carpet (that give guidance about where to sit to pray) run from North to South so that if you sit on one, you are pointing the correct direction!!!
It was also interesting to look down on these stripes and see that they extended in exactly the same manner on the upper floor.
As we left the Mosque, Michael started talking with this gentleman. He taught us a few Turkish words (which we promptly forgot) and then told us some of the history of the area. He was very kind and we enjoyed our time with him…
We returned to the hotel and relaxed for a while, actually I slept for over an hour!!! We then headed back to the Grand Bazaar for a bit more shopping.
We don’t know how, but we ended up in the little courtyard that Kathy had taken us to and decided to have a drink of hot apple tea….. ….and enjoy the smoking of a local water pipe called a Nargile. The tobacco we chose was apple flavored, with very little nicotine and a wonderful light flavor.
We wandered around in the Bazaar a bit more as we tried to find our way out. Upon exiting, I saw a vendor selling apples and told Michael that I wanted one. He peeled it for me….. …and then presented this wonderful, perfectly sliced, juicy apple….
As we returned, we came to our favorite corner….one that is always inhabited by the same friend……
If he ever moves, we will not be able to find our way home!!!