A Travellerspoint blog

So cool!

well, I didn't have time to write about yesterday. The guide came on time, this time from my company, and we were doing an all day walking tour. There was a couple from LA that arrived the night before and were with the same company. So there were the three of us and our guide, Ali. Cindy and Son are Vietnamese American in their mid-thirties. Super nice people so we had a fun day. We walked to an area not that far from the hotel where all the major sites are close together. We went into the Blue Mosque, named for the blue tiles inside. It is the biggest mosque with six minarets. We went next to the Topkapi Palace. That is where the sultans lived with their harams. They had a display of incredible jewels including an 86 carat diamond. There was also a room with artifacts, including Moses' staff. Quite an opulent place. We also saw the Aya Sophia. It is a church built during the Roman period about 537 AD. When Rome fell and the Byzantine empire ruled, the church was transformed into a Mosque. It became a museum in 1935 and they have uncovered a lot of beautiful mosaics of Christ and friends that were plastered over. It was an amazing church. We had lunch at a nice outdoor restaurant and then went down into the underground cistern. During the Roman times, the cistern was built to bring water to Topkapi Palace so if under siege they had access to water. It was so beautiful. There were dozens of columns in the water that were lite from below. Very romantic but cold and wet. Son took pictures with his better camera and will send me a link to it. We then went to the Grand Bazaar. Fortunately Cindy and Son did not want to shop either so we strolled thru a small part of it. Next Ali took us to a rug manufacturer and we got to see how a they were made as well as drink some Rafi (an anise flavored liquor). The carpets were gorgeous but the prices were well out of our budgets. We then went back to the hotel. I said goodbye to Ali and then to the couple although we may see each other again in Cappadocia. I met up with Varsha at 6pm and we went to the Turkish bath. What an experience! Sorry, no pictures. If you want modesty, don't go!. We took our clothes off in a dressing room, wrapped in a cloth and went to a very hot, humid all marble room. We each sat by a basin with water and using a bowl, poured it all over. Then to a sauna and then laid on a big marble slab in the middle of then room. Ladies came in for each person and using a rough sponge, massaged me head to foot. Then after rinsing, a sudsey massage, again head to foot. I also got an oil massage. It was firm but not deep. After walking all day it was really nice. Varsha and I went to dinner and then said our goodbyes.

Posted by adventuregirl88 16:00 Archived in Turkey

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