May 13:  Istanbul to Ankara

Up 8:20am.  Left hotel 9am for a walking tour of Istanbul.

Street scene.  I think the street is Soğukçeşme Sokağı.

Hagia Sophia.

Blue Mosque.

Dome of Blue Mosque.  See the blue color?  That's why.

Blue Mosque.

Blue Mosque.

Blue Mosque.

Blue Mosque.

Blue Mosque.

First group photo with the Blue Mosque in the background.  Back row:  me, Shirley, Kent, Mary, Mike, Megan, Andrew, Andy, Adrian, Lee, Dave.  Front row:  Kate, Katie, Ofelia, Michelle (aka Diana).

Entrance to the Grand Bazaar.

Grand Bazaar.  Reminds me of the Turkish Quarter in Sarajevo.

Istanbul University.  Both clocks are wrong and I don't know the story.  I think it was 11:45am or so when I took this photo.

Had lunch near the university.  Doner kebapMmm.

Next was the Süleymaniye Mosque, which I assumed would have an octagonal structure on account of Nadia Suleman, but it is in fact square.  We had to wait outside for 40 minutes because of prayers.  I think the lunch break was ill-timed.

Süleymaniye Mosque.

Süleymaniye Mosque.


Continued on to the spice market, where we had free pomegranate (permanganate?) tea at some shop where Ibo knows the proprietor.

Got the 3:10pm ferry to the Asian side.  Istanbul is made up of two cities:  Istan (which pompous Americans pronounce "Ishtan") on the European side, and Bul on the Asian side.  And if not, then it should be.

Galata Tower and the Golden Horn.  This is across the water but still on the Europe side.

Süleymaniye Mosque, on the shore from which we left from.

We met with our driver Şucru (I missed the spelling, but I think that's it), who I think had driven the minibus over the bridge to the Golden Horn and then over the Bosphorus Bridge.  I didn't notice but I guess the ferry we took wasn't for vehicles.  We were on the bus 3:45pm-9:15pm, in pouring rain most of the time.  We stopped at a rest stop for dinner, where I had chicken liver and Fanta.  I got liver just for the spectacle, but a whole bowl was tough to get down.  A lot of loud empty chatting in the back of the bus while the rest of us were trying to sleep on the last leg of today's ride.  STFU!

Ibo, Mary & Mike, Katie & Kent and I went to a bar from 9:45pm-11:15pm.  I had 2 big Efeses for only TL 8 each.  I should probably stop calling them "big" beers since 500 mL is standard here.

Back at the hotel I had 2 more beers from the minibar, but drank one of them in the lobby because the Wi-Fi didn't reach up to the rooms.  I downloaded a flashlight app for my iPhone...Ibo was using one at the bar and I could have used it on the aforementioned date last week, because it makes you look better to a chick when you can read the bill in a dark bar.

In my room I went to pee and stepped barefoot in a puddle next to the turlet.  WTF?  It wasn't my puddle.  Had to rinse off in the shower.

Bed just after 1am.