Today (October 10) is our last day in Istanbul. We had hoped to take a walk along the old city walls which are just a couple of blocks from us, but the weather did not cooperate. The rain that began yesterday continued today and it is stormy with gusty winds and thunder.
There were a couple of shops that we did have to revisit because the first several times weren’t enough and we could not let the rain stop us. When we left, the rain had stopped and I made the meteorological call that the rain was probably done for the day and I persuaded Patricia to leave the umbrellas behind. I was wrong. We walked through the Arasta Bazaar, which is close to us, and on down close to the Sea of Marmara which is not far from the hotel.
We could not get all the way there, but we did find the “Little Hagia Sophia” (Küçük Ayasofya) mosque. This building started out as a church in 527 A.D. It was converted to a mosque in 1505 and given its current name because of a superficial resemblance to the Hagia Sophia (which is about a mile away). We liked this mosque which is still in use. Over the years it has suffered damage and has been reworked architecturally a couple of times. There were hardly any visitors. The interior is simple (as are the interiors of most mosques) and at least during our visit most of the light came from the windows and not chandeliers. We took quite a few pictures. One of the differences between the two Hagia Sophias is that the little Küçük Ayasofya somehow seems older even though they are about the same age.
No sooner did we leave the mosque than the rain started up again. We moved quickly back towards the hotel but Patricia was forced to take refuge in several stores on the way back. We were more than a little damp when we got to our room.
But we didn’t let the rain dampen our spirits. Once the rain stopped we went out for lunch—with umbrellas. We went to a place down the street where we had had pizza before for a light meal. Just after we started to eat, the rain came back harder than ever. We were sitting outside and quickly moved inside since we were getting wet (not damp). As soon as we finished eating, the rain tapered off. That was our last meal in Istanbul for a while…
We have to leave for the airport at about 3:00 tomorrow morning so I am writing up our daily adventure early so we can pack and get ready to leave this city which we have only begun to explore. As I write, the rain is coming down in sheets and, for the first time in Istanbul, we can hear thunder.
Today’s pictures begin on page 7 of the Istanbul gallery