We were actually both awake before call to prayer, so we just got up and had our coffee. After our busy time on the go in Cappodocia, it was nice to have a relaxing start to our day. We didn't leave until 11 am.
Our plan for the day was to visit the Suleymaniye Mosque. It was built in 1550 for Suleymaniye the Magnificent, who is buried in a mausoleum along side the Mosque.
It's a huge mosque, and it was difficult to get a photo of the entire building, but here are a few shots of the exterior:
Here I am, sitting on part of an old column:
The interior is pretty amazing, but again very hard to photograph. It's impossible to capture the grand size and the beauty in a picture.
The main dome:
There is a narrow balcony around the interior, it's very elaborately decorated:
A few more of the interior. I really like the stripe motif on the arches:
Here I am, appropriately attired for a mosque visit"
Back out into the windy, cool day. At least it's not raining!
The views from the gardens around the Mosque were wonderful. This is looking over the city to the Golden Horn with the Asian side of Istanbul in the distance:
After our time at the Suleymaniye, we decided to explore the area around the mosque, and pick a local restaurant for a late lunch. Istanbul University is right near the mosque, so this is a pretty busy area. We wandered around the lively streets filled with students, and picked a small restaurant that was full of locals. We had one of the best meals so far, and at about half the price we've been paying. Ordering was a bit of a challenge--not a word of English spoken there!
David ordered yet another dish cooked in a stone casserole, and it was great. I had wanted to try Turkish manta--kind of like a tiny ravioli. They're filled with a tiny piece of spiced dried meat, and served with a tomato sauce and a dollop of yogurt. Manti was their specialty, so it was a perfect time to give it a try. It was deeeeelicious! We enjoyed it so much, we bought a package of it frozen for tomorrow's dinner!
I'd love to post pictures, but for some reason the memory card in my camera isn't communicating with my computer, so I lost all of todays picture. Thanks to David, though--I'm using the photos from his camera. Good thing I brought an extra memory card!
After our yummy lunch we strolled along the streets, stopping to buy some tangerines from a street vendor. He was a sweet old guy, he carefully picked out some good ones for us, then weighed them up on an old rusty balance scale!
Wish I could share pictures of this area--the streets were filled with old houses--some brightly painted and pretty, others quite dilapidated and almost falling down. The streets were narrow and winding, uphill then down--just a maze of hectic activity.
Eventually we found ourselves back to the tram, so we hopped on and rode back towards our stop. We got off one stop early, went to the tiny grocery and picked up a few necessities, then walked back "home".
After dropping off our packages, we walked over to the nearby Arrasta Bazaar to look for a couple of gifts. We didn't find what we were looking for, but it's always fun to look.
Dinner tonight was a quick one, right around the corner from our apartment. We weren't really too hungry so we shared a meat and vegetable plate, and it was plenty for us. Just a few steps back to our apartments, and it was early to bed again tonight. This getting up at 5 am is getting to be a bad habit!
Tomorrow in Istanbul: It's supposed to be sunny! It will be a great day for a long ferry ride on the Bosphorus.