Travelogue : Istanbul Day 2

We woke a bit later for Day 2.

The cramps in our legs weren't doing too much better. But the show had to go on! This time my sis and i walked to the taksim metro, albeit at a snails pace, but we got there nonetheless. Our plan was to visit Aya Sophea, and the Blue Mosque also know as the Sultan Ahmed Mosque.

Take the funicular at taksim -----> kabatash - take tramway (T1) ------>; Sultanahmet station.

This is the funikular that takes us from taksim to kabatash, It takes barely two minutes
This particular street was actually one of my favorites, since it had a scenic view. we walked around for awhile and dropped by a small garden/tomb, i wasn't really sure what its called. It had the tombstones of important people on display. We even purchased some of that famous turkish ice cream. We were kinda conned, but it still tasted good anyways. The sign say 5TL for 2 scoops which was what we ordered, but once the guy has plopped down 5 scoops and you've held the cone then its 9TL. What to do?

We then made our way to Aya sofya which means "Holy Wisdom". Pretty fitting considering it has served as church, mosque and finally a museum in its time. Entrance fee is 30TL. The line was atrocious, but thanks to our Muze card, we got the VIP lane ^_~. I don't really know how to describe Aya Sofya except that it is mindblowingly beautiful and ancient and rustic and for some reason a bit sad. It is definitely a place that will move you. The christian frescoes were amazing along with the larger than life display of the names of the prophet and the caliphates. It was cooling within the walls because of the marble which were so worn down they curved and were smooth to the touch. We also hiked up to the second floor where you can get a much better view of the intricate design on the dome.

 Afterwards we walked a few meters to the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, which was dubbed the blue mosque due to the blue iznic tiles in it's interior. Entrance is free, but those not wearing proper attire are required to wear wraps which are provided at the front door. I must say I was slightly disenchanted at the first visit here. Reason being was that it was during Zuhur prayer and my sis and I taught it fitting to take a rest and pray comfortably at the mosque. However, the throngs of visitors were hugely distracting and dominated more than 80% of prayer space. I was also unable to find a wudhu place for women and thus we were forced to make ablutions like we would in masjidil haram. This might have been because there were too many people. Later when we visited a second time for terawih prayers we found the ablutions area for women at the back along with an underground toilet. There was also a closed off prayer space reserved specifically for women. The built of the mosque reminded me very much of one i visited earlier in Egypt i just don't remember the name >_<

Then we exited right into the hippodrome courtyard where the most prominent landmark was an egyptian obelisk which was in very good condition for its age i must say. The hippodrome used to serve as a horse racing track. There were plenty of seats being put out while we were walking through. Apparently they were getting ready for a huge iftar celebration for the eve of ramadhan. Not something we're very used to i guess.

By this time we were completely famished and dropped by an ottoman restaurant for some lunch. My sis took something like a chicken roll full of chicken while i chose a vegetarian dish with mashed potatoes, for 10 and 9 TL respectively. Good food, though I guess my picky tongue would have preferred a little more salt. We ate maggie that night, cuz we were exhausted and didn't really want to think too much. We also did our first rounds of terawih with my mom as the imam. I must say I missed home most then.

Coming up, Basilica cistern. ^_~

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