Johanna 's Travel Blog

December 28, 10:17 AM

Despite of my better intentions, I woke up at 6am again today. Yesterday was extraordinarily full and today I’m adding to the list! Tonight we take an overnight bus to Cappadocia. Here’s a run down of what we saw yesterday and today (for more details check out James’s post):

1. Grand Bazaar-teeming with tourists and aggressive efforts to get us to ‘spend money here.’

2. Spice Market-a local might be more inclined to to enter, the array of spices were beautiful and “hand painted” tiles looked less mass produced. Just outside, a labyrinth of streets containing nooks of tires, belt buckles, cups and saucers.

3. Blue Mosque-beautiful tile work, built in 1616, we all took off shoes to enter, much appreciated reverence.

4. Bisilica Cistern-my personal favorite of the “must-see”’s, built in 532 and still enduring structurally, 2 of the columns had carved medusa heads (one inverted and one one its side), echoing and luminous.

5. Hagia Sophia-enormous! I thought the price (20TYL) was a bit steep, it was a great perspective to look down from the top balcony, when James was wearing my glasses he appreciated it too (less so without haha).

6. Topkapi Palace and Harem-well preserved, expansive (again with the expensive—palace was 20 and harem was 15) the spoils of war room was exquisite with precious stones galore.

We seemed to arrive at many of these great sites in concert with huge groups of 5th graders. What I enjoyed the most about today was when we explored the Asian side. So many fun bookstores, very interesting and cosmopolitan shops and endless markets. It was wonderful not to hear any English, German or Greek—just Turkish! We ate at a great place (per kilo) Ciya Sofrasi recommended by friends and loved the puffed bread and combination of vegetarian flavors. I would highly recommend it.

Note: American stick out with their full body Northface. Families can be identified by the tell tale lines spoken by the mother or father “you better appreciate this, it’s a once in a life time opportunity” and the kid’s response “I want my iPad.”

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