It was my birthday and the UAE government declared a three day weekend. No, not for me, but hey, whatever. My wife decided to take me to Istanbul.
I was thrilled. It was a destination I always had in mind, and I was not disappointed.
Istanbul is the only world capital that is both in Europe and Asia. For some reason my wanderlust sensibilities were excited about landing in Asia and taking a hotel shuttle to Europe.
We decided to stay in the area known as the Sultanahmet because for a short visit, this spot has the easiest access to the things we wanted to see.
Our first day in Istanbul was mostly spent on a Dan Brown tour, from the book The Inferno. It was a great tour, for now let me just say that Brown, like any good author, takes liberties with the facts.
For instance this (admittingly poor) photo is of the Cistern from the book.
And this photo is where the objective of the plot was found. I won’t say more so I do not spoil your read, But if you have read the book, you can see that the reality does not resemble the prose much at all. Please note, the photo here is not upside down. The cistern was built using over a thousand columns purged from palaces and temples. It was built by Justinian in 532. Justinian was most probably not part of a culture that recognized Medusa, so this column, and another just like it were inverted. It collected water from numerous sources to feed the city’s needs. Anyway, just read the book and you will see why I wanted to take the Dan Brown tour.
We saw most of the highlights of this city.
As in all great mosques there is a wonderful dome. This one emphasized the blue tiles.
Another must see is the Hagia Sophia. This building has a very old and very wonderful history. Built as a Christian Church, it was converted to a mosque. Then it was converted to a museum. It also plays an important role in The Inferno. I’ll just show you a photo, you should really read the book.
We shopped for a Turkish carpet, found one we liked.
Maybe the best thing we did in Istanbul was go to a Turkish Bath. The building, although recently refurbished dates back to 1556. In local parlance these are known as Hamams. You get a steam bath, scrubbed with oils and such until you are smooth as silk and then given a massage. This Hamam is named for the Sultan’s wife at the time, and according to my masseuse, she still haunts it. When I asked him if he had ever seen her, he said yes. I asked what she looked like and I got really scared, because he was describing my ex-wife!
Well, that is it for this post because we had such a short visit. I hope you enjoyed reading about it as much as we enjoyed being there. Thanks you for reading, please share this with a FB friend, and make a comment or I will go back to the Hamam and sick my ex on you!