The Galitz Journal for friends and family
Almost through with Istanbul
Tomorrow is our last day in Istanbul. Tuesday morning we fly back to Miami.
Thursday we had a free tour to the old city. Visited the hippodrome where they used to race the chariots, the Egyptian obelisks removed from Thebes, the Blue Mosque, Aya Sophia Museum (Church circa 500 AD noted for its very high and large unsupported dome), and the Grand Bazaar where we refused to shop and just had an expensive cup of Turkish coffee instead. We were treated to a late but fancy lunch by the Bosphorus.
Spent the next few days being extremely slow tourists. Mornings were spent leisurely at the breakfast buffet and generally we didn’t start sightseeing until the afternoon. It gets dark around 5pm so that means we really only sightsee for about 4 hours a day.
Friday, we took the bus to the old Byzantine City walls and the Kariye Chora (Country) Church Museum (famous for its very well preserved mosaics). I had been there in 1989 but Earl hadn’t seen it. It was more touristy but nicer than in 1989. The mosaics are well lit now so one can actually see them. It was rainy so we didn’t walk along the crumbling city walls for very long. Earl was excited when we found a lokanta (neighborhood restaurant) that served pacha (lambs feet soup). Friday night was the official stamp show award dinner which was perfectly boring. Earl won a vermeil for his postal stationery exhibit which didn’t rate being called up for photographs.
Yesterday, we went to the Archaelogical Museum which has some of the best preserved sculptures from the 1st century from a necropolis in Lebanon. Some of the original paint can be seen on these tombs. We also went to the underground cistern. Earl didn’t remember anything about it except that it had fish. In the evening, we ate at an iskembe (tripe soup) restaurant so Earl could have some of his favorite ethnic dish.
Today, we went to the Naval Museum and then took the ferry across the Bosphorus to the Asian side of Istanbul. Had tea and baclava, visited the local open air market and took the ferry back to Europe at sunset. BTW Bosphorus means “the place where the cow crossed”. After all the food we’ve been eating, this is an appropriate ferry trip.