Day 22 - Having a Look Around Istanbul
Istanbul Travel Blog› entry 22 of 42 › view all entries
With the Australians safely into the World Cup Cricket final and the kiwiâ€™s out of it, it was safe for us all to emerge from our hotel and truly enjoy a day of sightseeing around
First stop was Aya Sofia, the
Like a lot of grand old buildings in this part of the world, its has been re-created a number of times.
From the Aya Sofia we walked through the Hippodrome and past the Obeliskâ€™s of Constantine Porphyrogentius and Theodosius and the spiral column to the Blue Mosque. We were asked to remove our shoes (standard procedure for entering a mosque) but Rebecca was deemed to be too scantily clad, so she was draped with a sheet before being allowed to enter, a continued source of amusement to the rest of us for the remainder of the tour. Entry to the Blue Mosque was free but at the exit there was a bloke collecting donations, hailing that a donation of 50c would buy you a ticket to paradise.
Then we were led to the first â€śsales pitchâ€ť of our holiday. Apparently, all these package tours drag you around to a few producers of typical local products. Our first stop was a Leather shop. We were treated to a fashion parade and then guided through a number of floors of leather jackets, trousers, handbags, etc. Aside from a couple of ladies jackets that cost in excess of ÂŁ1000, nothing really caught our eyes, so most of our group spilled out onto the street empty handed.
Then it was off to a Turkish Rug shop.
It took a good 40 minutes or so for us to narrow our choice down to two carpets but a further 10 agonising minutes of deliberating lead us to decide that we werenâ€™t sure what we wanted, so we walked out carpetless.
The afternoon was our own but we simply wandered about a little before returning to the Hotel to relax.
Everyone met back up at the hotel mid afternoon, for the next stage of our tour, a trip to the wharf for a river cruise.
The river cruise itself was disappointing. It was cold and windy upstairs on the open deck so everyone sat downstairs, inside. The guide was providing a commentary over a sound system but it wasnâ€™t loud enough to drown out the raucous noise of everyone chatting and drinking. We took a couple of pictures but eventually gave up and decided to join everyone else, giving up being tourists and getting down to drinking.
As we spilled off the boat Mish bartered with a street seller for some â€śTurkish hatsâ€ť.