Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Monday, Nov. 19

Today is our last day in Istanbul, and as much as we've enjoyed this fascinating city, we are feeling ready to go.  We leave tomorrow morning for Paris, we'll spend two days in our favorite city, and then fly home  Thanksgiving morning.  It's been a wonderful trip, and 4 1/2 weeks is just about our limit, we think!

We had only a loose plan for today.  We took the Tram to the main ferry stop, going through Eminonu Square--it was really busy this morning!  Many vendors selling those awful fish sandwiches from their fancy boats:

Carts selling snacks and hot drinks:

Along the way to the ferry pier we saw this old guy.  He had quite a load on his back, he was selling big yellow apples:

While we waited at the pier, we noticed this "garbage" boat--they were chugging along, picking floating garbage out of the water:

We boarded our ferry and settled in for a 35 minute trip to the small town of Eyup, further up the Golden Horn from Istanbul.  I love this view of Istanbul fading into the distance:

On each ferry ride we've been served tea--just 1 Lira a glass--what a nice way to travel:

Pulling into Eyup, with the Eyup Sultan Mosque in the background:

We walked up the street, enjoying the busy scene, lots of people out today; we wondered if it was a holiday:

Soon we came to the Eyup Sultan Mosque.  Eyup is one of the holiest sites in Islam.  Eyup Ensari , a close companion of the Prophet Muhammed, died during the Arab seige of Constantinople in 678 A.D.
His burial place was discovered in 1453, and a shrine was erected on this site.  On Fridays and religious holidays crowds of faithful come to this Mosque to make their devotions.

The Mosque is set on a pretty marble town square, this is the entrance:

 We took off our shoes, and I "scarved up" to visit the interior:

The main dome:

The passageways around the main dome had pretty painted ceilings, with lots of gold leaf:

After we looked at the inside, we came out into the courtyard and sat on a low wall to put our shoes back on.  Two muslim women came over to us, and with sweet smiles, offered us Turkish candies.  Of course we didn't turn them down.  What a thoughtful gesture!  We have been constantly amazed at the genuine goodness of the Turkish people.  We have felt so welcome here, and have experienced nothing but kindness.

View of the inner courtyard, with purification area:

We walked out into the square and saw this family sitting on a bench in front of the Mosque.  I'd read about young boys coming to this Mosque, dressed in white suits for their ritual circumcision.  This little boy's suit was quite fancy, with fur and gold embroidery.

We walked up the street just a ways, and I spotted this ice cream cart.  As I watched I realized this was not ordinary ice cream, but Lokum, a Turkish delicacy that I'd wanted to try.

We stepped up and ordered one cone to share, pistachio and chocolate. Lokum is very sticky and elastic, and is dished up with a flat paddle. This gentleman put on quite a show for us.  He snatched the cone out of my hand a couple of times, turned it upside down and pretended to drop it, all while it was still stuck to his paddle.  He was a real character--it was great fun! 

Lokum is actually ice cream--but it's elastic, very chewy and stretchy.  It's hard to describe, except to say that it's chewy ice cream.

Here I am, playing with my food:

We walked along for a block or two enjoying the crowded streets.  This area seemed to be much more traditionally Muslim, with the majority of women wearing head coverings.  We saw a few black hijabs, but only one full burqah.

Four women in hijabs, shopping away:

Most of the shops in this area sold traditional Muslim clothing for women:

I liked this ad for stylish women's attire:

This area is built on a very steep hillside.  We took a cable car to the top of the hill to eat at the Pierre Loti Cafe.  It's situated above a very large terraced cemetery:

There's a viewing platform right at the cable car exit:

This was the view from our lunch table:

Our lunch wasn't the best, but the view certainily made up for it!  After taking in the view we rode the cable car back down the hill, and it was a short walk to our pier.  We didn't have long to wait for our ferry, and we relaxed with one last cup of Turkish tea, enjoying the beautiful scenery on the way back to Istanbul.

I really wanted to stroll through the wonderful Spice Bazaar one last time, and David was kind enought to indulge me.

I've really enjoyed the Spice Bazaar, much more than the Grand Bazaar--it's smaller and not quite as touristy.  I picked up one last spice mix and a couple of small souvenirs,  I guess I'm finished shopping now!  Oh, wait--there's always the airport tomorrow morning......

We got off at our "home" Tram stop, stopped for another delicious kebap sandwich for dinner, exchanged our remaining Turkish Lira for dollars, and made our way toward our apartment.  I tried to soak up every last bit of that Istanbul magic--it's a great city!

 One last look at the beautiful Hagia Sophia:

 Good bye Istanbul, it's been lovely!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Diana for sharing Istanbul with me and your other bloggers. It really does seem like a wonderous city and quite an adventure. The mosaics in this posting are awesome - in person, they must have been breathtaking. Have fun in Paris and HAPPY THANKSGIVING! See ya tomorrow!