Istanbul Day 2

Continued from Istanbul Day 1.

The day started with us trying to sleep in, but failing at that. The bright sun outside made its way through the ineffective blinds and woke us up. It was a beautiful day outside.

I started blogging, and SO decided that she would watch some fashion TV on our TV(she’s a fashion designer). Have you ever tried blogging while beautiful women get paraded on TV? Blogging didn’t happen.

SO went out in search of coffee, Turkish coffee. She found a cafe just around the corner from our hotel, but they had no to-go cups. The server from the cafe took this tray and walked with SO all the way to our hotel and let her take the tray into our room. Cool. SO hadn’t even paid yet. This is a different place than India. Turkish coffee was interesting. It’s basically just really fine ground coffee boiled and then put into a cup with sugar. You can’t drink the whole cup because there’s coffee ground at the bottom.

Beautiful blue sky here in Istanbul. Seeing this made me realize that I never saw blue sky in the 3 weeks that I was in India. The smog and pollution is just so bad everywhere in India. I really miss the blue sky, and it looked amazing over here.

So clean. Istanbul is a lot more modern and clean than what I had imagined in my mind before coming here. It feels very European. Its cleaner than Paris, at least in the area that I am staying at.

Beautiful blue sky.

Saw this obelisk last night.

Man, that’s really old.

Blue Mosque. I am in love and obsessed with it.

About to enter the Blue Mosque.

Ahhhh!!!! This is almost as impressive as the Taj Mahal for me. It’s amazing!!! How can something like this exist?

Doh! I guess we’ll have to come back to look at the interior later. It’s very evident that we are in a heavily Muslim country. Several times a day, calls to prayer gets blasted on loudspeakers all over town. I am not sure if there’s a part of town that can’t hear the calls to prayer. It sounds like several different people sing and it gets broadcasted onto different speakers. Standing in one spot, you could hear many different calls.

Side of the Blue Mosque. Love it. I would to make love to the Blue Mosque. I am sure that’s blasphemy is so many ways.

Can’t get enough of it.

Hagia Sophia. First a church, then a mosque, and today a museum.

There are so many mosques here in Istanbul, but the Blue Mosque is my favorite. Damn, she’s so fine!

Fancy shoe polish platform.

Blue Mosque, yet again.

YES! Kebabs! Feed me!!

Looking for a place to sit. SO, pointed to the corner at a table that’s different from all others.

Yes, fit for a king. I am sitting here. I am #1.

Yes please! It’s a little different from the doner kebabs in Germany. They did put pickles here in the Turkish version which I like.

This is definitely on the list.

Roasted chestnuts.

Yes, yum.

We saw all these people walk around to the side of Hagia Sophia. We followed them because we figured that it’ll take us to the entrance of Hagia Sophia.

Hagia is nice, but no Blue Mosque. Beautiful blue sky.

Well, all the people weren’t heading for Hagia Sophia, but towards Topaki Palace. Change of plans. Topaki palace first it is then.

Not too many people in line, despite the swarms of people. Nice. There were many more people exiting at this hour than entering.

The first portion of the palace that we visited was the harem, which required an extra ticket. It was worth the extra payment though because it was one of the better parts of the palace.

The doors on the right hand side lead to the sultan’s favorite consorts.

Beautiful inlay.

Well, that was fun. Beautiful tile work inside.

I believe this is the library. There were no books though…

Part of the courtyard of the palace.

According to my guidebook, that’s the funeral platform. People were just sitting on it without knowing its significance. Was funeral platform, now seating bench.

There were a lot of kids here in Topaki palace today. Field trip? When they saw us, they kept on greeting us in Japanese because they think we are Japanese tourists. We do get some attention here, but nothing like India. The kids were impressed though and kept on trying to get our attention and say hi to us.

Beautiful city.

Isn’t that blue sky just incredible. Even though we are next to the sea, the air here doesn’t smell salty, just like Mumbai.

At the cafe in Topaki Palace. More kebabs? You bet.

Europe on left side, and Asia on the right side.

They like to drink hot tea in glasses here with no handle. Now, food, get in my belly. The chocolate cake was exceptional.

Centuries of wear and tear.

Those chimneys are for the palace kitchen.

There were also exhibit rooms here filled with incredible jewels, but no photos were allowed in there. The most impressive item that I saw was a pair of candle holders. They were about 5 feet tall, made with gold and covered in thousands of diamonds and jewels.

Fun with HDR setting in my camera. Blue Mosque, I love you.

We can visit the interior of the Blue Mosque now. Except, we were yet again turned away. This way is only for people who are coming in to pray. Visitors will have to come from a side entrance, but it all leads to the same spot.

They provide shoe bags here. Nice touch.

Nice plush carpet inside. It feels clean and I had no problems walking around in my socks. Not like India.

I think the doorman in the front was also racist. Everyone waited in line in front of us were visitors too, and yet we were the only two who got turned away and had to walk to the visitor’s entrance. He assumed that because we are Asian, we are not Muslims. Well, his stereotype worked out this time. We are not Muslims, but there are actually millions of Asians who are Muslims.

I am surprised there were so many tourists to Topaki and not so many here. What’s wrong with people? Topaki was just alright, it won’t even make my list of top 5 palaces that I’ve seen. The Blue Mosque is just so much better. People need to get their priorities straight. They need to get them more in line with mine.

None of the people who waited in line in front of us are praying… This is the man’s prayer area, in the front. So nice and peaceful inside here. I can just sit here for hours and embraced this grandness.

So happy.

This is the woman’s praying area. It’s way in the back in a small fenced off section, behind where all the tourists stand. My Rick Steve’s guide book said that this is due to respect, and not due to misogyny. I call Bull Fucking Shit on it!

The Rick Steve’s guide book was written by authors living in Istanbul. Authors who are probably Muslim. Yeah, that’s right. I am Asian, so I must not be Muslim. You live in Istanbul, so you must be Muslim. I’ll make general sweeping stereotypes just as well as anyone else.

Anyhow, the authors give reasons that men don’t like to be disturbed by women bending over the in front while they pray and women don’t feel comfortable having men behind them staring at their asses while they pray. They said that putting the women way in the back is actually a sign of respect. BULL FUCKING SHIT!!! Have they not discovered this thing called “side by side”? Super conservative backwards society over here. Justify it all you want, but I am calling it like I see it.

Funny tourist taking a photo with a woman wearing a niqab. How will they know who’s under there? She’s just anonymous.

I do love the Blue Mosque though.

Marry me.

Saw this in a restaurant window on the way back home to the hotel after a full day of sightseeing.

Back in the hat shop, that’s now open.

Watermelon slippers!

A3 with fake Brembo brakes. They were just covers over the original brakes.

Got back, and caught up on some blogging. I am way behind.

The hotel suggested that we eat at this place called Doy Doy for dinner. SO thinks its a chain because she’s seen them in Germany before.

The puffed up bread that was fast cooling and deflating as I took this photo.

I’ve only had Coke Light, and now for the first time, Pepsi Light.

Yes and yes! Mixed grilled meat and they called the baked bread thing on top with cheese “pizza”. SO had ordered grilled eggplants(huge here) that’s hiding under the flat bread. Yum. This food is agreeing with my stomach more than the constant heavily spiced Indian food.

To be continued at Istanbul Day 3 Part 1.

1 thought on “Istanbul Day 2

  1. I LOVE LOVE LOVE these pictures…they are beautiful and captivating….what a drastic change going from Mumbai to Istanbul. I like that brides dress too, great taste! I would eat that whole meat plate, thats how good it looks.

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