Thursday, May 14, 2015

Istanbul - Spice Market and Golden Horn

The second visit to a big city is usually better than the first. You are not so overwhelmed by trying to find your way around and you have become more used to how things work there. After sitting on the train for so many days I was anxious to have a good long walk so I set out shortly after breakfast.

Around the corner from my hotel. By lunch time it becomes a busy street filled with hawkers and diners. I actually ate dinner that night just down the street on the right.

I walked over to the Sultanhmet district first.

Tourists going to the Topkapi Palace.  

The main drag of Sultanhmet which would be crowded with diners at night.

Like any old big city there are interesting streets and nooks everywhere.

Many of the main streets were blocked off for a bike race to take place later in the day.

A side lane for book sellers.

The entrance to the University.

The Sehzade Mosque. I did not enter.

Grave stones.

Restful park.

The Bozdogan Aqueduct. It was completed in 368.

I then headed into a non tourist area on my way to the Suleymaniye Mosque.

A small building that was a library. 

A small mosque.

A slum with bunches of dirty kids running around. I did not linger and it is at moments like these that I am glad to be a six foot male.

The Suleymaniye Mosque. It is the largest in Istanbul and was finished in 1558.

It was not crowded like the Blue Mosque and it only took a couple of minutes to take off my shoes and enter.

It is similar to the Blue Mosque with the suspended circular array of lights. Non believers are kept behind a railing.

It is much less ornate than the Blue Mosque and in some ways I would prefer to worship there if I were Moslem.

The women worshipers behind the barrier by the back wall.

I liked the look of these tulips.

You might like to look at their website for photos of the inside. This hamam can only be used by couples and singles are not allowed.

After walking for a couple of hours, I was feeling a bit thirsty so had a freshly squeezed orange juice that cost a bit over a dollar.

Then I arrived at the Spice Market.

Whenever I see spices laid out like this I just think that they can't be fresh when exposed to the air all day.

All sorts of trinkets for sale.

It's cool to drink your tea in Turkey from these little glasses, but at home I prefer a mug.

Another stand selling corn and roasted chestnuts. I can't get too excited about either.

The Galata Bridge across the Golden Horn.

Boats selling fish sandwiches beside the south western end of the bridge. The boats bob violently up and down continually so you wonder why the blokes on the boat don't get seasick.

There are three of these boats selling fish sandwiches.  

Ferries and tour boats.

Northern end of the bridge at Karakoy.

I decided to walk to the Dolmabahçe Palace. The streets were deserted in preparation for the bike race. Police cars blocked off the side streets.

Park beside the Bosphorus. 

It was a really crappy looking day. I felt sorry for those who were doing their Bosphorus Tour this day. There would be no chance of getting decent views or taking good photos.

Blue Mosque in the distance.

Hordes of people getting off the tram at the Dolmabahçe Palace.

The queue just to go through security to then buy a ticket.

The queue to buy tickets extended in a circle that had to be two hundred yards long.

Only two windows and each transaction was taking a couple of minutes or longer. A quick calculation and I realized it would be close to closing time before I made it to the head of the queue. It was pointless waiting any longer.

So I took a couple of photos and took a tram back to the Galata Bridge.

It was now May and peak tourist season so the crowds would be much larger than early April. As I tell people, if you really like a place, don't see everything on your first visit. Keep some new experiences for your next visit.

The bicycle pelaton raced through. 

Tour boats.

I tried a fish sandwich for about $3. It was ok but wasn't wonderful.

Bobbing up and down on the boat. 

Sirkeci Station, the former terminus of the Orient Express. International trains no longer depart from here. 

James Bond was here in the film From Russia With Love where he catches the train.

You can imagine how exciting it must have been to arrive here after your trip from Paris.

The waiting room. It all seems so empty and disused.

Now the waiting room is used by the Whirling Dervishes who put on a show for tourists.

I headed back to my nearby hotel for a well deserved nap. Shortly after I arrived it rained and I pitied all the people still waiting in the queue at the Palace.

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