Thursday, July 14, 2011

Under the Weather and Powering Through

Turkish Flag
Yesterday, July 13th I was sick in bed for most of the day. I had the best intentions to go out and explore the city, but I woke up feeling terrible. I tried to go to breakfast, but I only lasted a few minutes and it was back to bed. I probably had too much fun on my cruise the day before. I rested up for the day knowing that I had one day left.

Today I woke up feeling a little bit better, but not 100% I still had a list of things to do though so I was out pretty early to Hagia Sofia. I spent part of the morning walking barefoot through mausoleums all by myself. I also walked the perimeter of the complex down the stone steps. It was so peaceful in this section where the tour groups don't go. I soon found the main entrance, paid my entrance fee and wandered around the church turned mosque.

After that, it was time for my red bus tour of the city. Since Dolmobache Palace was closed, I decided to just stay on the bus and listen to the tour. I wasn't really feeling up to stopping at all the places. The views from the top of the bus were great, and it was nice to just be able to sit and enjoy the scenery.

When the bus tour was over I wandered back to Hagia Sofia to the entrance of Topkapi Palace. I got to the gates, but I just couldn't bring myself to go in because there were just so many people and huge tour groups. Instead I wandered back behind Sofia again to try to find a place that had been recommended. I found it, Caferaga Medresesi which was down some steps and completely out of the way. It is a series of handicraft shops with a small courtyard cafe in the middle. I stopped there to try to eat something for lunch (cold cucumber and yogurt soup). It was so great to be away from the tours and the noise.

Feeling like I had a bit more energy, I decided to brave the Grand Bazaar. I had to go even if I was really tired and didn't really know where it was. Again, maps don't help me, but I did see a sign near my hotel, so I decided to follow that. That sign led up a hill and to another sign, and another, and down a long street. When I walked in, I knew I couldn't stay long, but I was glad I got to see it. It was a cross between a covered market and a mall. There were all sorts of shops, jewelry, leather goods, souvenirs. I was told that you have to bargain for everything, but I had already scoped out what I was going to buy the other day. I was just there to see what all the fuss was about.
Grand Bazaar 

I finished off the day and my trip with a dinner at the rooftop restaurant at my hotel. The panoramic views were fantastic, and I sat and watched the boats go up and down the Bosphorus. It was a very nice end to to a fabulous trip.