A Travellerspoint blog

The Mosque-ito coast

Hey, my friend.........

semi-overcast

In my 2 days in Istanbul I have made many friends. Strange thing is that they all want me to accompany them to their carpet shop! 'My new friends' usually hang out around the tourist attractions offering some useful a dice such as "Visitor entrance is over there" or " Mosque is closed now for prayer and will not re-open to..." They seem to be very good at guessing I'm an Aussie but then with ANZAC day ono a week away it is probably just a good educated guess.

This morning I went on a 'mosque crawl'. All up I visited 4 mosques being the Blue mosque, the New mosque, Rushen Pasma mosque & Suleymaniye mosque. Whilst similar each had their own style. The Blue mosque is the most famous, so named because of the 20,000 blue Izmit tiles that adorn the mosque. However due to the sheer size of this behemoth and the restricted visitor viewing area it is near impossible to see any of the fine detail in the famed tiles. However the grand scale of the Blue mosque is just incredible. Next was Suleymaniye mosque, the 2nd largest in Istanbul. More plainly adorned than the glamouros Blue mosque its understated interior perfectly highlights its magnificent carpet. Next was the small Rustem Pasha mosque which is also renown for its blue Izmit tiles without the viewing restrictions. Off the beaten mosque trail, I virtually had the place to myself, well except for a very alert attendant :) Finally it was the New mosque. I was probably mosque'd out by this point so only had a short visit.

Since my final mosque for the morning was near the Spice bazaar, how could I resist a short side trip for another mouth watering sweet ;} The early afternoon was spent lazily in a garden ( the name escapes me) with it's colourful display of bulbs in full bloom. Later in the day I made my way to Galata tower for another gorgeous sunset.

Amulets against evil eye

Amulets against evil eye

The Blue mosque

The Blue mosque

The Blue mosque 2

The Blue mosque 2

Suleymaniye mosque

Suleymaniye mosque

Rustem Pasha mosque

Rustem Pasha mosque

Izmit tiles, Rustem Pasha mosque

Izmit tiles, Rustem Pasha mosque

trees

trees

4 mosque skyline

4 mosque skyline

Sunset from Galata Tower

Sunset from Galata Tower

Posted by adtamo 12:19 Archived in Turkey Comments (0)

Turkish Delight

sunny

Well that was a day of hard core touring, 13 hours in total. Now that I'm back in Europe I forgot I have to contend with the 2 usual annoyances, cruise ship groups and scaffolding!

Breakfast was bread with honey, yet again! Oh how I long for some cereal. First stop of the day was Hagia Sophia, thankfully early enough to beat the massive queues. Hagia Sophia was once a Byzantine christian church that was converted to a mosque by the Ottomans and more recently converted again into a museum. As expected, the inside was impressive though the magnificence was dampened by scaffolding covering one side of the interior. Such is the price of maintaining these centuries old buildings. Next up was a short visit to the underground Basiica Cistern, a water store for ancient Istanbul. Lunch was beckoning and how I could I pass up on a Pide chicken donor :) Sated I made my way to the Grand Bazaar to buy M her crocheted necklace. After Morocco I have had enough medina's/markets/bizaar's/shopping so after I short look around I moved on to the New Mosque, built in the 16th century. I waited around for the midday prayer to end before entering to view the smallish, by Turkish mosque standards, but stunning interior. The spice bazaar was right next to the mosque, this one was ok to visit as it was full of sweet Turkish treats. I settled on some turkish delight, both traditional and made with honey. I think I will have to visit here again before leaving Istanbul ;) After being on my feet for almost 3/4 of the day I decided to slow it down and board a 2 hour sightseeing cruise of the Bophorus river. I disembarked on the Asian side of Istanbul to watch the sunset over the minaret skyline of Sultanahmet. Before catching the ferry back to the European side I had a freshly barbecued fish in a roll for dinner followed by the other obligatory Turkish sweet, Bakalava. Well with all the walking I did today, I earned my 2nd sweet treat ;}

Baklava's

Baklava's

Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia inside 1

Hagia Sophia inside 1

Hagia Sophia inside 2

Hagia Sophia inside 2

Pit stop

Pit stop

Basilica Cistern

Basilica Cistern

New Mosque

New Mosque

New Mosque domes

New Mosque domes

Fishermen on Galata bridge

Fishermen on Galata bridge

Bophorus Bridge

Bophorus Bridge


Keep an eye out for chips....

Keep an eye out for chips....


Istanbul skyline at sunset

Istanbul skyline at sunset

Posted by adtamo 20:19 Archived in Turkey Comments (0)

Chicken or Fish.........

Well it has been a long series of flights and airport transits from Marrakech to Istanbul. all up 24 hours. One of the hazards of solo travelling is who is allocated seats around you on the plane. On the Casblanca-Dubai flight the dinner choice was between chicken or fish. By the time the food trolley got to our seats chicken was the only option remaining. Well the woman in front of me was very upset tat this as apparently she does not eat chicken. Now she had not put in any special diet requests but that did to matter, she got more and more aggressive when fish could not be served to her. All the while I was hungry but could not be served my cooling meal as most of the cabin crew were trying to calm the tantrum that was occurring in the seat in front of me. This went on for 15 minutes and the lady was eventually pacified with a plate of fruit so I could finally receive my now lukewarm meal :(

Surely that was my bad passenger of the day, but no it got better on the Dubai to Istanbul leg. This time directly behind me was this hipster doofus looking dood. When lunch was being served his leg was sticking out in the aisle so the attendant could not pass with the trolley. She tried to wake the passenger but he did not respond to verbal or physical commands. She eventually moved his leg herself and proceeded serving meals. Soon after this the plane hit some turbulence so the food service was stopped. As usual the seatbelt sign went on and the pilot advised passengers to remain seated. Well during one bump there was this loud bang behind me. I turned around to see the doofus sprawled on the floor. It seems he did not buckle up and was thrown from his seat! He just lied there so another passenger and myself tried to get him to respond with no luck. We both got out of our seats to assist him back to his seat, the doofus was not a largish man and in the limited room we had to work it was a difficult task to manoeuvre him from the floor, adding to the complexity was his legs were all tangled up in the surrounding seat framework. As I placed him in his seat I noticed a near empty bottle of vodka, I have no idea how it passed all the security but he was plastered, and I think he also might have been stoned.During all this the cabin crew was nowhere to be seen. We buckled him back in and went to seek out a flight attendant to advise the situation. Oh yeah, my partly consumed lunch got cold during this distraction. :(:(

Happy to finally land in Istanbul, I passed through passport control, baggage claim & customs with no issue only to find that my airport transfer was not waiting for me. Well that was the straw that broke this camel's back, I called the hotel and let fly with all guns blazing. Soon after I was in a VIP taxi which the hotel was paying the fare. After some more words at the reception desk I settled into my room for a short while before heeding out for a warm meal, Afterwards I had a brief walt past the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia which are located only 200m from my hostel.

Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia

Blue Mosque

Blue Mosque

Posted by adtamo 11:47 Archived in Turkey Comments (0)

Done & dusted

semi-overcast

Flight out of Morocco is not until this evening so I spent my final few hours visiting a local ornamental garden called Jardin Majorelle, which is comprised mainly of different bamboos complete with goldfish filled ponds and as well as many varieties of succulents. It was ok but then I'm not really a gardening enthusiast. From there I went back to Jemma El Fna for one final dose of madness. I was able to work my way through the touristy souks to find my way to a souk mainly frequented by locals. There were less crowds and less hassle here, much more to my liking. I'm now back at the hotel awaiting my airport transfer. Cheerio!

Yet another spice picture

Yet another spice picture

Yellow & Blue

Yellow & Blue

Babouches

Babouches

Posted by adtamo 06:42 Archived in Morocco Comments (1)

Marrakech: A kaleidoscope of mayhem

semi-overcast

Jemma El Fna square. The centre of the old part of Marrakech city. During the day it is a bland, large open space populated by merchants (juicers & dried fruits), snake chalmers, monkey dancers (what a disgusting practice, even worse seeing it in real life), horse carriages, henna tattooists, twirling hat musicians & beggars, oh so many beggars.

Surrounding the square is a labyrinthine of lanes filled with the now familiar merchants of Moroccan medinas. They are a bit more aggressive in Marrakech, but then this is bigger than the medinas in the other Moroccan cities so they have to be.

As evening approaches the trolleys start rolling in en masse and within an hour the square is transformed into a series of marquees. This is where the pop up restaurant concept must have originated! The air fills will smoke from the many charcoal fuelled barbeques, the aromas are alluring and soon I am snacking on a kebab, followed by a Moroccan spiced sausage & some cous cous. The daytime hawkers are replaced by musicians, fortune tellers, story tellers and acrobats. The story telling looked very interesting, attracting large crowds but as I cannot understand Arabic or French I quickly moved on.

But so ends my story in Morocco. It has been an incredible adventure of centuries old architecture, contrasting landscapes, vibrant markets, and of course the wonderful kind people.

IMG_1103

IMG_1103

IMG_1166

IMG_1166

Cheap pots

Cheap pots

Colourful merchant shop

Colourful merchant shop

Crockery

Crockery

IMG_1156_2

IMG_1156_2

Jemma El Fna square: the day is over

Jemma El Fna square: the day is over

Bahir palace 1

Bahir palace 1

Saadien Tombs

Saadien Tombs

Jewish cemetery

Jewish cemetery

PS: I just found out that T was part of the Maribyrnong High school 4x50m freestyle relay team that just won the school state championships. What awesome news to start my final day in Morocco.

Posted by adtamo 23:53 Archived in Morocco Comments (0)

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