(Daniel) Gabby Rowan and I treated ourselves to a lie in this morning, and didn’t get up until 9.30am, well that is a lie-in by our standards now! After breakfast we walked to the Iranian embassy where the others collected their visas. Once we had these (10 minutes) we droipped off our laundry at a nearby washing service, along with instructions on the various handwash items. This done we walked across the street to Aya Sofya.
This huge building was originally built by a Roman Emperor as a Church, but was later changed to a mosque under the countries new Islamic regime. Underneath the Islamic patterns the Christian mosaics depicting the Archangel Gabriel and Jesus etc. have started to show through. It can also be seen where the designs have incorporated the cross so as to ease the change. The overall effect is a very interesting mix of two very different styles, which you would think would be quite odd, but in a way they seem to work very well together. In the huge main hall there are 6 foot high marble urns, cast from single blocks of marble, and high above are huge discs depicting Muslim symbols. After walking all around the Church come Mosque we walked across the park to the Blue Mosque, another amazing building, this time built soley for it’s purpose. The mosque is still in use, so Women had to cover their shoulders with scarves which were provided free of charge at the entrance, and visitors are made to remove their shoes and carry them with them in bags, The mosque was still as amazing as when I visited ten years ago, and the huge pillars holding up the dome still left the three of us in awe. Just look at Gabby next to one of them!
After our tour of the Mosques, we walked across the river to a restaurant in the trendy area that we went to last night. A huge kebab each, and for me several fruit juices. I should mention now, that I have been very de-hydrated from the start of the Expedition, and despite drinking as often as possible never seem to be able to get rid of these dry lips! Perhaps it’s simply the temperature, as I rarely display any other symptoms. After lunch, we walked back to the Hotel and packed up our stuff ready to leave Istanbul tomorrow.
Leter on after a few drinks on the roof, we walked back to the other side of the river, and up the hill to the amazing Meze restaurant that Rowan and Gabby discovered the other night while I was lost! The place was amazing with huge trays of assorted Meze being brought to your table and Raki, the Turkish spirit of choice as the speciality drink. I tried a Raki, and several dishes, as did Rowan and Gabby, and after eating our fill we took a taxi back. Once again the Taxi driver overcharged us by going the long way round. This is the third time that this has happened to us, and this time it was despite our warnings not to!.
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