istanbul is a beautiful city in turkey, located on
both sides of the bosporus, the narrow strait between the black
sea and the marmara sea. one half of istanbul is on the asian
continent, the other in europe. istanbul's population is around
15 million people and the average age of the population is 28.3
years. half of the population is younger than 25, so most of
the time we old compared to the majority of the people in the
streets or pubs!!!
food and drinks are really great in turkey. the turkish tea (chai)
is the national drink and you get it anywhere. we ate many many
kebabs in all kinds of variations, but also enjoyed the delicious
sweets like turkish delight or halva – and for real starves
you got the pretzel-like simit-bread in every street. really a
good place to loose weight
cistern and palace
- basilica cistern (yerebatan sarnici) it doesn't sound like
much, but this giant underground cistern was built in 532 to
provide water to the city in cases of siege. even the james bond
movie "from russia with love" was filmed there.
sophia (aya sofya), just 5 walking minutes from our hotel… dating
from the sixth century and was over 1000 years the largest enclosed
space in the world – the largest church, and became a mosque
in the 15th century when the minarets were added.
- sultanahmet mosque (sultanahmet camii, aka blue mosque), with
its six minarets and sweeping architecture the 'blue' mosque impresses.
this is still a working mosque and we were allowed to go inside,
but had to take off our shoes.
- topkapi palace (topkapi sarayi)
was the imperial enclave of the ottoman emperors for three centuries.
the views from the fourth court over the bosporus are spectacular.
fruits and veggies
as it was the
international istanbul tulip festival, there were millions of tulips popping
up in various parks of istanbul. and for
those who don't know: tulips are originally from turkey,
not from holland...
it's just interesting how different istanbul is from europe - and still,
how many similarities one can find. we just enjoyed the time looking
at things like dolphins playing in the bosporus, fish markets, a hen
in the restaurant, the happenings in the side streets, visiting
eyup at the head of the golden horn is a pilgrims place. we hiked
up through the incredible huge cemetery to the pierre loti café and
enjoyed the view and the shade under the trees. we saw young boys
dressed like little princes, celebrating their circumcision days.
from the galata tower you have a 360 degree view of istanbul, including
the entire sultanahmet peninsula. the grand bazaar (kapali çarşi)
is istanbul's grand old bazaar with an estimated 4400 shops lined
along covered walkways. it is said to be the world's oldest shopping
mall. the shops are organized around their wares, e.g. the silver
jewellers are clustered together, the carpet shops are clustered
elsewhere and the shoe shops are bunched together somewhere else. no,
we didn't buy anything!!! :-)
before we left zuerich, we met ben who waved to us from the tower ;) the
flight over grabs etc. was brilliant!
around in istanbul - from one place to the other - we often took
the boat. they travel between the european and asian sides of the
city and the crossing takes about 20 minutes – for only 1,30
yeni türk lirasi (so less than an euro). one afternoon we
sat along the bosporus and saw lots of dolphins playing around,
of our time we just spent walking in the small side streets, watching
the locals – or the tourists – relaxing and
enjoying the scent of 1001 nights…