It is snowing. Nick and I attempted to stay warm and dry as we made the 30 minute walk across the Galata Bridge. My hands nearly froze, and the hood of Nick’s raincoat was not very cooperative. W are California wusses when it comes to the cold. Nevertheless, it was nice to see Istanbul in the snow.
We took the elevator up the Galata Tower, hiked up the winding stairs, and walked around the observation deck at the top of the tower. Even with the thick fog, the view was quite good. The Galata Tower was built in 1348. During the reign of Murad IV (1612 – 1640), an early aviator named Hezarfen Ahmet Celebi flew with artificial wings from the tower over the Bospherous to the slopes of Uskudar, nearly 6 kilometers away. Murad was delighted by the flight, and almost gave Hezarfen a reward but then changed his mind. Instead, Hezarfen was exiled to Algeria, as he was seen as a threat. Bum deal.
After reveling in that delightful tale, we headed to the Pera Palace, where we met with Suzan, the head of marketing. There we took a small tour, saw the original silverware and dining sets, and managed to pick up a press kit. We are excited and can’t wait to watch the documentary that is included. Suzan told us that much of the decor is original, from the stained glass windows in the bar, to the light fixtures. (We think they have probably gotten new bed sheets and towels since then.)
The Pera Palace was quite a delight, and we will share photos as soon as we have access to a real computer!
Press kit from the Pera Palace
View of the Galata Tower from below
Winding stairs in the Galata Tower
Poor cold Californian
Remember the post about cats jumping in tourists’ bags…here’s proof! Silly kitten.
We have noticed that there seems to be a fine line between sidewalk and street. Drivers don’t hesitate to simply hop the curb, whether or not pedestrians are currently occupying the sidewalk.
Drivers like to go in reverse. Why? Who knows.
Sultanahmet park is also just a dog park. At night the strays chase each other and generally just seem to have an awesome time being a dog.
It’s pretty sweet being a stray cat in Istanbul. They’re well-fed, get lots of attention, and get to hop in unsuspecting tourists’ bags.
Now here are some photos from today’s adventures!
Nick before we ventured into the Archaeology Museum
Me, trying to stay warm.
Could those be Cthulhu’s tentacles, coming up to snatch the cultists?
This guy looks like he just lost some sanity by witnessing a gruesome scene!
I think deep ones must dwell in the Basilica Cisterns. Strange medusa heads can be found in the depths. Luckily we didn’t turn to stone…at least…not yet!
We awoke to the sound of the morning prayer. Not normally an early morning person, I was up at 6:30, not being able to go back to sleep.
We ate a traditional Turkish breakfast provided by the hotel, which consisted of bread, semit, hard boiled eggs, cheese, olives, and meat.
We started the day at the Blue Mosque, and then proceeded to the Hagia Sophia. We also managed to see (and this may not be in order, I am pretty wiped out at this point in the day) the Topkapi Palace (including the Harem), the Spice Bazaar, the Grand Bazaar, the Railway Museum, a lunch of kebap and pida, Turkish coffee (yuck), and a whirling dervish.
We had drinks at the Orient Express restaurant, where we also snagged a few postcards.
Good morning from Istanbul! This morning I woke up to the sounds of the morning prayer. I am looking forward to breakfast, when we will make a game-plan for today. We are going to try to walk to our destinations as much as possible, as I feel you really get to know a city the more you walk it. Walking also allows you to stumble on sights you would normally zoom by in a taxi or on a tram.
Istanbul kitties, for your enjoyment.
Well, we have made it! We are staying close to the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia. We arrived in the afternoon, strolled around the Arasta Bazaar, ate some potato eggplant thing, tasted apple tea, and saw a kitty eating the largest worm I have ever seen (a monster from the depths of the earth?).
Tomorrow we hope to visit the railway museum and/or the Hagia Sophia.
If any of our fans have been to Istanbul, let us know what type of street food you enjoyed.
With our departure a mere 2 weeks away, Nick and I are busy setting up meetings and planning the details of our research trip to Istanbul. While there we plan on visiting the Railway Museum located at Sirkeci Station, as well as the university library.
Seeing as how we were both born and raised in the SF Bay Area, we are also busy thinking about how to stay warm. My wool socks have been purchased, and I am glad I invested in a winter coat a few years ago for a trip to Iceland. (While on vacation I visited Pedro Ziviani, author of Mythic Iceland.) I may end up packing hundreds of hand warmers in lieu of other necessities (who needs more than one pair of pants, anyway?)
Check in here to follow along our journey.
Here is a view of Istanbul from the 1920s for your pleasure.
Hagia Sophia in the 1920s.