What a wonderful city

Istanbul Travel Blog

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Outside the hotel

Very early next morning; 6am to be precise, we both physical and mentally woke up in a new country. The main reason was due to the fact that the speakers of the minaret from the next door mosque were pounding the first Morning Prayer over the sleeping city. Our room, which was situated next to the reception, made it possible for us to hear the night receptionist joining the prayer from the speakers of the many nearby mosques. We looked at each other; laught and decided to get up even though it was the break of dawn and that we arrived quiet late the night before, well we had slept less than 5 hours.

The Blue Mosque
Unfortunately Kaija wasn't still feeling that well; she had a sore throat but felt like breakfast.

The hotel restaurant opened their serving of the breakfast as of 6.30. We were the first to enter the roof top breakfast terrace but to my surprise a lot of other early raisers were also ready to fill their stomachs before their attack of the joys of this wonderful city. It was absolutely not normal for me to get up this early if I am on holiday, normally I hardly have a chance to reach the Breakfast.

The breakfast was served on the first floor, on a terrace from where we could overview some of the city. Besides looking straight into the minaret of the little mosque that woke us we had a view towards the magnificent and stunning Hagia Sophia.

The Blue Mosque
Even before I had visited it this to me was one of the most impressive buildings in the world and I have second that after my visit there; it is one of the most amazing buildings I have seen and where I have felt the entire history pass by.

The Hagia Sophia is famous in particular for its massive dome, and that same structure was just in front of us while we were sitting there enjoying the breakfast. This mosque is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture. It was the largest cathedral ever built in the world for nearly a thousand years! The current building was originally constructed as a church between A.D. 532 and 537 on the orders of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian. Eating breakfast in a beautiful sunrise over Istanbul and looking at a building that was almost 1500 years old, was for me the most fantastic way to start a day in this splendid city.

Police accident in front of Haghia Sophia

We took it easy and enjoyed the different breads and a couple of cups of coffee before we finished and decided to walk to the Hagia Sophia and the neighboring Blue Mosque or Sultan Ahmed Mosque as its more rightfully is named. The streets were empty and clean, very clean. When we arrived 5 - 6 hours earliere the rain was flushing down the narrow streets but this morning the sun was getting stronger and the temperature was already getting close to 20 degrees.

We started by walking to Haghia Sophia, which was only 500 meters from the hotel and we were both enjoying the sense of a different culture, just by looking in the windows of the shops we were passing on they way there.

It was a stunning way to sense and feel a new place, being almost the first in the streets this Saturday morning.

ATMs - no I dont see any!
 Walking among a fantastic building like Hagia Sophia or the Blue Mosque while the rest of the tourists were sleeping or getting quietly out of their beds was very liberating. There was absolutely no sense of urgency, everything was very fresh from the rain last night, calm and sleepy. We had the early sun smooching us in the face and we both felt very lucky having these marvelous buildings almost for ourselves. A downside was naturally that we couldn't enter the mosques becase they didn't open before 9 am but just the walk around them was for me very rewarding and relaxing.

Outside the Blue Mosque I saw a man checking out all bushes and trees and I was wondering why! Well actually I still do! I was sure that he wasn't looking for stray cats but I suspected that he was checking for dangerous devises, like bombe or so every morning; what a job! We strolled around in the area for almost 2 hours and we met a lot of friendly locals asking to our wellbeing and in general just smiling towards us.

Fishing for lunch at Eminonu Port
It was a magic morning.

On the way back to the hotel we met a guy that decided to walk along with us, he was telling about the different things in the area and was in general just helpful. We met him while we were watching a strange traffic accident involving a police car. The car looked like it had been dropped from the sky being stuck between a large flower arrangement and a light pole. The sight was also the main attraction for all the police of Istanbul and they were probably all laughing their pants off over their colleagues bad driving.

Just before the hotel he said that we should take a look into his store which was selling local handicraft and carpets. It was not a sales proposition but he was just proud about it. Inside one of his workers showed us a lot of different carpets and told us a lot about them.

The New Mosque

It naturally turned out that the guy had a nearby carpet shop but he knew rather quickly that he wouldn't be able to sell anything to us because we made that quite evident. He still took his time to tell about his city and since his shop was on the way back to our hotel we decided to see what his shop contained. He took his time showing us what he had in there, which I found amazing, because I already owned some Persian carpets. Kaija never liked these carpets and my different Iranian Naimâs were already filling the basement storage room after she entered my life. I had therefore no intention of buying any more carpets, but I always enjoy a good lecture when I can get one, especially for free.

After the pleasant talk to this local carpet sales guy, we walked back to our nearby hotel because Kaija wanted to get back because she wasn't feeling well, she wanted to sleep some hours in hope of that she would feel better later.

Fruits
 A couple of hours later I left her sleeping in the hotel room and I decided to walk a little further into the neighboring area.

I walked some of the small streets that didn't lead anywhere; well that's how I felt anyway. After half an hours walk along Gulhani Parki trying to get to the other side of the wall; just to find out that the side I was walking on was the right one, I saw the Istanbul Sirkeci railway station. Here I started to feel some of the activities that is the characteristic of a great city. I walked down the water enjoying the traffic of the many ferries and the enormous amount of men standing fishing at the shore of the Bosphorus.

I walked along the water intrigued by the numerous of people running back and forth to the ferries and decided to walk towards the The Galata Bridge that spans the Golden Horn.

Backyard of the hotel
On the bridge there were even more men standing fishing and all the fishing lines made it look like a spider had spun its web all over it. I walked down under Ragip Gumuspala and the shops down there gave me a first indication of the environment that would meet me in the infamous Bazaar that was located not far away from where I was located.

Just when I came up on the other side the prayer machine from the all Istanbuls mosques started to compete about the attention. I found the whole situation absolutely fantastic; I felt like I had moved myself to the other side of the earth. There were people of all kinds and colours and the sound was just everything I had imagined. The scent from the spice market started also to come and I found myself as far away from Brussels as I could come this day.

I walked into the neighboring and famous Bazaar and was dazzled by it all; it was not the kind of gods that was on display that fascinated me but more the absorption of all the different things; the sounds, colours and the scensts, it was a combination of all that, that greeted me there.

Backyard of the hotel

After enjoying the Bazaar for more than a couple of hours Kaija called me and said that she was feeling a bit better. I hurried back to the hotel to pick her up and I couldn't wait for her to see some of the sights I just had been introduced to.

We walked back to the Bazaar again and she liked it as well, especially not surprising the gold streets. We walked a couple hours and then she wanted to return to the hotel and stay in bed again, but at least she had seen more than I had hoped for in the morning.

Chokk says:
For sure my friend ;)
Posted on: Feb 28, 2013
schaizer33 says:
yeah my city :) its the most beautiful city in the world. I can say it easily and proudly.
Posted on: Feb 28, 2013
dieforu says:
so time next new year to make another tour of this places?:)
Posted on: Feb 28, 2013
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Outside the hotel
Outside the hotel
The Blue Mosque
The Blue Mosque
The Blue Mosque
The Blue Mosque
Police accident in front of Haghia…
Police accident in front of Haghi…
ATMs - no I dont see any!
ATMs - no I dont see any!
Fishing for lunch at Eminonu Port
Fishing for lunch at Eminonu Port
The New Mosque
The New Mosque
Fruits
Fruits
Backyard of the hotel
Backyard of the hotel
Backyard of the hotel
Backyard of the hotel
Being the early ones and having th…
Being the early ones and having t…
In front of the Blue Mosque
In front of the Blue Mosque
The Blue Mosque
The Blue Mosque
The Blue Mosque
The Blue Mosque
Bath of Roxelana
Bath of Roxelana
The Blue Mosque
The Blue Mosque
In front of the Blue Mosque
In front of the Blue Mosque
The Blue Mosque - looking like a g…
The Blue Mosque - looking like a …
Early streets of Istanbul
Early streets of Istanbul
The Blue Mosque
The Blue Mosque
The Blue Mosque
The Blue Mosque
Walking in to the Mosque
Walking in to the Mosque
The Blue Mosque
The Blue Mosque
The Blue Mosque
The Blue Mosque
Eygtian Obelisk
Eygtian Obelisk
The Blue Mosque
The Blue Mosque
Ablutions Fountain
Ablutions Fountain
Ablutions Fountain
Ablutions Fountain
The cute small chairs
The cute small chairs
A stack of small cute chairs
A stack of small cute chairs
Haghia Sophia before the hordes of…
Haghia Sophia before the hordes o…
Haghia Sophia
Haghia Sophia
The park in front of Haghia Sophia
The park in front of Haghia Sophia
Police accident in front of Haghia…
Police accident in front of Haghi…
Police accident in front of Haghia…
Police accident in front of Haghi…
Police accident in front of Haghia…
Police accident in front of Haghi…
The leftover of the Milion
The leftover of the Milion
Police accident in front of Haghia…
Police accident in front of Haghi…
Nice yellow house
Nice yellow house
Where I had my dinner
Where I had my dinner
Small street on the way to the hot…
Small street on the way to the ho…
Haghia Sophia seen from our hotel
Haghia Sophia seen from our hotel
Small street on the way to the hot…
Small street on the way to the ho…
On the way to the harbor
On the way to the harbor
Wonderful details of the city
Wonderful details of the city
Central station
Central station
Central station
Central station
Eminonu Port
Eminonu Port
At dressed up
At dressed up
Eminonu Port
Eminonu Port
Eminonu Port
Eminonu Port
The yellow cabs of Istanbul
The yellow cabs of Istanbul
Fishing for lunch at Eminonu Port
Fishing for lunch at Eminonu Port
Busy - busy at Eminonu Port
Busy - busy at Eminonu Port
Fishing for lunch at Eminonu Port
Fishing for lunch at Eminonu Port
Fishing for lunch at Eminonu Port
Fishing for lunch at Eminonu Port
On the way to the bazaar
On the way to the bazaar
Fishing for lunch at Galata Bridge
Fishing for lunch at Galata Bridge
Fishing for lunch at Galata Bridge
Fishing for lunch at Galata Bridge
Fishing for lunch at Galata Bridge
Fishing for lunch at Galata Bridge
Fishing for lunch at Galata Bridge
Fishing for lunch at Galata Bridge
Fishing for lunch
Fishing for lunch
The New Mosque
The New Mosque
The bus station
The bus station
The New Mosque
The New Mosque
Whatever you need
Whatever you need
Spicy!
Spicy!
Nobody here!
Nobody here!
Busy day at the bazaar
Busy day at the bazaar
Colours of the women
Colours of the women
Small streets of the Bazaar
Small streets of the Bazaar
Small streets of the Bazaar
Small streets of the Bazaar
Small streets of the Bazaar
Small streets of the Bazaar
Small streets of the Bazaar
Small streets of the Bazaar
The Princes Mosque
The Prince's Mosque
The Princes Mosque
The Prince's Mosque
Entrance to the gold market
Entrance to the gold market
Inside the gold street
Inside the gold street
Inside the gold street
Inside the gold street
The New Mosque
The New Mosque
The New Mosque
The New Mosque
Towards Haghia Sophia
Towards Haghia Sophia
Towards Haghia Sophia at night
Towards Haghia Sophia at night
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photo by: Memo