Thursday, November 12, 2009

Savouring our last days in Istanbul

We caught our night bus at 10 PM on Monday and began our journey back to Istanbul. We reached the city just before 7 AM. We woke up briefly during the trip and noticed we were on a ferry (crossing the Sea of Marmara?). Back in Sultanahmet we searched for the hostel that Pascal and Lotus had recommended but being so tired, we didn't look very hard. We checked into the Eurasia Hostel and had a nice long nap instead. We wandered toward the Golden Horn in the afternoon and saw a Dervish whirl while we ate dessert at night.

Back when we were googling the World's Greatest Wonders, we stumbled upon the greatest wonders of the Medieval World... and found the Haghia Sophia to be included on the list! If there's anything to see twice in Istanbul, this would be it. Dan was eager to see it so we checked it out together yesterday. It didn't fail to amaze me the second time around. It's a beautiful building with such a rich history. I included some more pictures from the Upper Gallery.

We spent the rest of our afternoon at the Museum of Science and Technology in Islam. It is located right in Sultanahmet's beautiful park next to the Archeology Museum. Having both studied engineering, we took such pleasure nerding it up among the many exhibits devoted to Physics, Geology, Weaponry, Medicine, etc, and how they evolved in the Arab world. Unfortunately, they were highly technical to the point that for some of the disciplines (like Astronomy) we didn't understand how many of the devices worked and no descriptions were available to us.

We went in search of a new hostel yesterday morning (why not - Sultanahmet is full of them!) and immediately fell in love with Ocean's 7 Guesthouse. Can you believe this bathroom?! It is bigger than an broom closet and the shower is enclosed instead of right over the toilet! The last time I saw an enclosed shower was in Canada! We were dazzled by such luxury and were thrilled when the manager cut us a deal for our last two nights (hurray for travelling during the low season!). We settled in quickly and were pleased to be able to hang up our jackets and put our supply of food (Turkey has some of the best dark chocolate I have ever tasted) on an actual end table instead of on my backpack.

Here's Dan demonstrating how wonderfully lazy our last day in Instanbul has been... we slept in, indulged in some yummy Turkish food (manti and gozlemes), perused the English bookstore (Dan, being the bookworm he is, needed some more reading material), wandered the Grand Bazaar in search of a hookah (I found a beautiful green one with brass accents), and strolled the pedestrian avenue until we found a cozy cafe...

I never drink coffee - unless I am on vacation. The countries I visit always have a great-tasting cup of joe on hand and Turkey is no exception. It's rich, potent and smells divine. For the price of a medium double-double, I got a cup of unfiltered Turkish coffee, a square of dark chocolate, a bottle of water and a small bowl of chocolate-covered coffee beans. Best cafe ever!!!

Tomorrow we catch an early flight home, connecting through Vienna and Toronto.
Goodbye Turkey! Your food is terrific, your people are incredibly charming, and your sights are some of the most beautiful on earth. We will definitely be back one day. We still have so much more to see.

(Kudos to Dan for suggesting one lazy July afternoon: "hey, we should go to Turkey...").

1 comment:

  1. Sultanahmet is a great place.
    Grand Bazaar is baetiful.