So it was a 9 hour and change flight over to Istanbul.
So here Domo is with his luggage, yes he's got a fez hat on.
Domo's in my carry on. I've had this carry on bag for a while now, its gone with me almost everywhere!
We flew Turkish airlines. They fed us A LOT. They were pretty friendly and gave us food, drinks, snacks. my god no one was hungry at all! The only gross part was that there was this uber gross old guy who was balding with age spots on his bald head that had his paid gf with him along on the trip. You know what I mean, this guy was clearly old enough to afford a younger gf, but apparently he's flying coach so his paid for gf was a bit on the older side, let's say milf age. but it was gross cause they kept on making out in front of me. EW. No one wants to see old ppl make out. Plus she serviced him during the flight. OH GOD that was gross.
Anyways we landed and we got to our hotel. And since we got there like at 9 am, we decided to explore the city, screw tour groups, we're independent New Yorkers here! First stop, the blue Mosque!
Oh yeah, there's a bunch of stray dogs and cats roaming around Turkey. Its not big deal there apparently. The govt takes care of them, giving them shots and stuff, then they bring them back to their neighborhood, where the kids play with them, the merchants and vendors feed them, so they're pretty friendly animals.
So we're going to the blue mosque. Its quite beautiful inside. Built centuries ago, it still stands. There are over 100K mosques in Turkey. If you haven't figured it out, they're a muslim country. But no, they're not Arabs, they're Turks, and they get along with everyone in their country, christians, jews, they're all friends. Course once you go outside of Turkey, you wonder why everyone's so mean to Turkey.
The inside. Its amazingly beautiful. These are all mosaic tiles, all placed by hand. No machines, and it was built centuries ago and it still stands. If you haven't realized why they call it the Blue Mosque, its because of the blue tiles inside it. And yes, always be respectful of other people's cultures. I had to wear a head scarf when entering mosques.
Then had lunch at this restaurant behind the Blue Mosque.
This is a cheese pide. Its kinda like a pizza but they make it in that shape. Its pretty good.
This is their meat platter of various kabobs. Hmm meat! And they put the bread on top, cause you have bread all the time. Bread is holy there and you never waste it.
I did the touristy thing, and ordered apple tea. It doesn't taste like tea. It tastes like cider almost. I love the cute little tulip glasses they serve tea in. Yes you get a sugar cube. Apple tea was created for the tourists who can't handle the taste of real tea. Good thing I'm asian. I drank A LOT of turkish tea while I was there.
Turkish coffee! Foam is important! Yes it's in a tiny cup for a good reason. No milk! If you want sugar you have to tell them when they make it. DO NOT stir it. You let it sit for a bit, so the grinds settle down and then you drink it, but not the whole thing. You drink about 2/3 of it, and stop other wise you'll be tasting sandy coffee....
Then we went to the basilica cistern. Its like an underground water storage place the romans made centuries ago. Bourdain went here when he was in Istanbul. Its super dark in here so trying to take pics was kinda hard.
Medusa head. They apparently reused this, they found it somewhere, took it here and reused it in the column. Waste not, want not.
Near the Blue Mosque (which has free wifi) is Haga Sophia. Domo is ready to head over there!
So this is Hagia Sophia. It was originally a church, that was turned into a mosque, which was turned into a museum. This building is about 1000 years older than the Blue Mosque.
Domo with an Urn, which was created out of one solid block of marble.
This is where Byzantine Emperors were crowned. Domo shall be crowned here too!
Domo looking at what is similar to a pulpit.
That way to Mecca. And yes that's a cat there.
Told you it was a cat. And its sleeping. And no one bothers it.
You can see the crosses under the muslim symbols.
This is the sweating/weeping column. It absorbs the water from below, so when you touch it or rather stick your finger into it, it feels damp. Yes I stuck my finger into it, much like everyone else. Yes you better wash your hands after this.
View from the 2nd floor. This place is HUGE!
After that we walked around, saw some farmer's markets, bazaars and other things. We ended back at the hotel where we met the rest of our tour group. Ugh, I don't really do tour groups but this deal came with a escorted tour, so eh. We met some real interesting people. Most of the people there were hardcore travelers. I mean they travel a lot, and have gone to A LOT of places. One woman travels to a different country every month! The hotel food here was pretty decent. Domo made friends.
The next day was a full day in Istanbul. We had a food tour, yes food tour, called Istanbul Eats! It was super awesome. Next post, lots of food porn!