In September it seemed a great idea to escape from the Christmas hullaballoo for a few days, so I booked for a friend and collegue of mine and myself a four day trip to Istanbul. The plan was to have everything prepared for Christmas before we set off, but somehow...
To tell the truth - it was great to get away and just to go sightseeing and enjoying ourselves. We forgot all about Christmas the moment we landed in Istanbul. The sight from the breakfast table sure was better than the one at home.
The Blue Mosque to one side, the Marmara sea to the other.
On the roof of the house next to our hotel we saw two dogs chasing some seagulls. Of course they did not catch them, but we were afraid the dogs would fall off the roof. Actually they were quite careful of the slippery rooftiles, so we could enjoy our breakfast in peace. There were lots of things never sighted on my breakfasttable as well...Mmmmmmm
Our plan was just to go sightseeing, drink some coffee and eat well with absolutely no Christmas shopping, but who can resist with offers like these?
Perhaps I ought to rethink my quilts style
as well as my dresscode (I wonder how my behind would look like in this?)
or perhaps not.
We sure did find some coffee. I just love it and drink it as often as I can. Normally I'm a teaperson, but here in this country there is no way I'm leaving a full cup of coffee behind me.
Istanbul is a really beautiful city, full of colours and interesting people. I don't like to take pictures of people I do not know, without their consent. But how do you talk to them if you don't know the language?
The chestnut sellers look a bit different from their French collegues. (These guys were happy to be models)
Of course we had to visit the Blue Mosque. This is Marita on her way inside the mosque. You have to wear a scarf on your head and take off your shoes. You carry the shoes in a plastic bag with you until you go out again.
She wasn't too thrilled about the scarf, but the inside was well worth it. The Blue Mosque of Istanbul is one of the most impressive buildings I've ever seen.
There were only few tourist in Istanbul at this time of the year, so we could really see everything we wanted without queing for hours. In this picture you can see some people praying on the left side and the tourists on the right side. I didn't mean to take a picture of the people praying, but at home I saw what I had done. I hope they don't mind too much.
This is how the carpet looks like. It is all over the place and looks this well everywhere. It does make sense to leave the shoes in a bag. I wouldn't want to know what this carpet would look like otherwise.
We also went to the Hagia Sophia. It used to be a Christian church, but was turned into a mosque later. Now it is a museum. You can see signs of both religions beside each other. I have never seen anything like this before.
This is an angel with a face. There are two angels without faces as well.
This place inspires true devotion, in all creatures.
This is the Ompahlion, the place where the byzantine emperors were coronated.
Upstairs there were some beautiful mosaics. This one is with the emperess Irene to the right.
And there was some graffiti from the Vikings (the real ones). They must have liked what they saw, because they didn't smash down the place. What's a bit of harmless graffiti in the marble between friends?
Not far from the Hagia Sophia there are the Cisterna Basilica. It is the place underground, where they used to get the water for the palace.
We went to a hammam (Turkish bath) as well, but I'm not going to show any pictures of ourselves being kneaded on a slab. It was great though and I sure will go there again should I ever come to Istanbul again. We found a place where even the tourists (a lower form of human being in most countries) are being treated well and not ripped off. Last time we were here, we weren't so lucky and paid a lot for about 2 minutes of treatment.
A couple of hours ago I came back home again, well motivated to get on with my Christmas programm. How are you doing, everything in place already?