What kind of a day was it? The kind where we took more than 500 pictures, mostly at a visit to the Aya Sofya (Hagia Sophia). That may give you some idea of what fun we had.
We were rushed when we saw the Aya Sofya last year and we had been looking forward to our return visit. We got in line a half hour before the ticket window opened and we were fortunate enough to be among the first to get inside. Some of today’s pictures (which start at the end of page 5) show the vast space enclosed here. We had a wonderful time walking the main floor and the balcony. We spent about 2 hours and probably could have doubled that. The Aya Sofya started out as a church in the 6th century and was converted to a mosque in 1453 when Constantinople fell to the Turks. Much of the interior decoration was covered up and some of it is still being uncovered. It was opened as a museum in 1935. I could not possibly describe all of the glorious things we saw so I hope you look at the pictures to get an idea.
After leaving the museum we walked over to the Handicrafts shop. These small shops are government sponsored as a way to show off Turkish art such as sewing, iconography, calligraphy, tile making, and other artistic crafts. While Patricia visited the small shops I relaxed in a small outside courtyard.
Patricia remembered a small shop that we saw on our walk home yesterday and she wanted to revisit it today so we walked back to the area of the Archeological Museum to find it. On the way we saw a photographer taking pictures of a couple who had just been married. They looked very nice and the tourists walking by were good about trying to stay out of the pictures.
Since we were out and it was lunchtime, we went to a restaurant we had seen before and wanted to try. We ended up having a very nice lunch.
An aside about shops and restaurants… There are about 13 million people in Istanbul (depending on who is counting what) but there are also approximately 13 million carpet stores, 13 million souvenir stores, and 13 million restaurants. I believe we have visited about half of all of the stores in Istanbul over the last 6 days and I am pretty sure we have looked at all 13 million restaurant menus. We have talked to lots of shopkeepers and waiters, too. Today we talked to a person in a carpet shop who has a relative who owns a carpet store in Santa Fe; we are supposed to drop in and say Cousin Habib in Istanbul says hello.
Most of our walking this morning was in a fairly small area. I had the GPS on my phone tracking where we went and I thought you might like to see the results. If you go here, you can zoom in and out on the area we covered.
One result of our walking today was a pair of tired feet.
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Tevya Shaver9 Oct 2011
Dad – you do such a wonderful job of narrating your days. I just love reading these…
And Mom – great red polish – after all the walking you’ve been doing, your feet look great!