Istanbul – An early start

So off we went on a new adventure.  To Istanbul.

Arriving at 4:30am in Istanbul we took the bus to the hotel where a very sleepy porter took our bags.  Then off to see the city.

This is at the hippodrome before the blue mosque.

Now, we had a bit of difficulty finding the hippodrome as we thought it would be some huge track.  They use to race chariots etc around it in earlier days.

This is the reason why we had trouble finding it.

Lots of cars neatly lined up

Why were they lined up you say?

There were angry pirate cars

Racing cars

Cow cars

All to take place in the Orient Rally!

Anyway after this we trooped off to the blue mosque

And how blue it was!  No photoshop, I promise!

An interesting bit of history about the Blue Mosque.  It was constructed with 6 minarets (those tower things) but apparently you aren’t allowed to have more or the same as Mecca.  So a little competition ensured…..

Anyhow, we then decamped in the general direction of the Hagia Sophia.

Originally a church, it was then converted into a Mosque, and then a museum.  But more about this another time as at 6am it was strangely enough not open to visitors…

So we went walkies around.

Also went through a very nice park.

But at this time, we were tired and hungry.  Well, I was mostly hungry at this point.


Dessert store.


But alas.  We were not thinking of sweet things.  Well at least I was.  But my other companion (otherwise known as the blind icelandic traveler) thought otherwise.  But we vowed to return

Wandered into the spice market

But probably not advisable to reach in and eat a handful.  Although at this point I was starting to seriously consider it

Instead we settled for this.  Baked puff pastry like thingy with minced lamb, cheese and spinach inside.  Yum yum yum.

So this is up to about 8am.  I have much to recommend about seeing a city early early in the morning.  Its so quiet, and there are no tourists around (although one of my tastier smelling companions was followed around by a pack of dogs for a while).  The only issue you may have to deal with is a big sleep debt.  This was only one of the several 4 am mornings we would have to deal with.

But more to follow in the posts to come!

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