Jun 022015

I miss the Hagia Sophia:


Hagia Sophia

Intoxicatingly beautiful.




Plus, there was a LOT of Istanbul that I didn’t see, not to mention the rest of Turkey, and the Middle East, and Europe.  Ah well, a fellah can dream, can’t he?  You’re all invited, too.

Dec 182014

Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar has existed almost since the conquest of the city by the Turks in 1453 AD/CE (831 AH), with the estimate of its construction taking place between 1455 and 1461 AD/CE (833-839 AH). Luckily for me, one of Istanbul’s main tourist attractions was about a fifteen minute walk from my hotel. So, having no excuse, I made my way there as a relatively quick and easy ‘to do’ on my list of touristy stuff.

A map for your frame of reference:

And so, after stretching my legs, in I went:

Grand Bazaar - Istanbul

An entrance to Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar. Abandon All Cash, Ye Who Enter! Ha ha, just kidding. Sorta.

And I found out was every bit the center of hustle and bustle it was made out to be. See for yourselves (and forgive your humble videographer?):

I wandered, happily so. Some may have a set agenda when coming to a place like this, but I was only to happy to get lost and just see what there was to see. There was a bit of everything – glassware, carpets & embroidered cloth, hookahs, t-shirts, suits, you name it! Best of all, the spice stalls inside the Grand Bazaar were interspersed throughout its enclosure rather than being combined into a single section. This had the added bonus of adding ‘oases’ of fragrance to what was an already wonderful atmosphere.

I finally came across a small shop selling futbol (soccer) jerseys. While my 13 year-old nephew plays the American version of the sport, I figured that a nice jersey from a Turkish team would still be a cool gift. (The jury’s still out on this.) I wound up picking a jersey representing Fenerbahçe Sports Club (Fenerbahçe, for short):

Fenerbahçe 2014

Fenerbahçe 2014 – Turkish League Champions

I picked this because I was informed by the young shop manager that they were the Turkish League champions that year. I was also informed that it would better for me to purchase a genuine Nike brand jersey for a more than reasonable cost. My definition of ‘reasonable’ differed from his greatly, of course. So, we haggled. He better than I. Of this I am sure as I walked away paying more than I thought was fair but one learns. I managed to rationalize that I was on vacation and that such things are part of the experience. Besides, I reasoned to myself, it was for my nephew. Still, I gotta tighten up my haggling game. Though, to be fair, I did do ok the day before purchasing a small carpet – but that’s another story.

On the way back, I passed another tourist site, the Burnt Column:

The Burnt Column

It was more impressive when Constantine the Great was on top. But that was a looooong time ago.

It was much more impressive centuries ago when it looked like this:

The Column of Constantine

Before it became “The Burnt Column” it was the site upon which the statue of Constantine the Great stood.

After that, I went and grabbed lunch and walked by to my hotel room, biding my time and wondering what to do next. There are worse ways to spend a morning.

Nov 262014

Per WordPress’ Photography 101, here’s a picture with an edge. Specifically, the edge of a tower along the Theodosian Walls in Istanbul. Specifically, it’s near the Edrinekapi Gate, the site of Mehmet the Conqueror’s entrance into Constantinople in 1453.

Photography 101, Theodosian Walls, Istanbul, near Edrinekpai Gate

This is a section of the Theodosian Walls in Istanbul near Edrinekapi Gate.