Friends and Family, Travel, Uncategorized
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Petey and Yoko do Istanbul: Part I, Arrival and the Basilica Cistern

Last weekend we headed to Istanbul, which meant a weekend with great food, sights, colours… and this song stuck in our heads every. single. second. of every. single. day.


We flew into Sabiha airport, which meant that our ride (ahem: private transfers) to the hotel saw us crossing immediately Asia to Europe, and gave us an amazing view over the Bosphorous in the process (which, as the terrible blogger that I am, I was too slow to capture with my camera).

I did managed to capture the similarly amazing view from Andrew and Mari-Anne’s window though.
What do you think?

We arrived fairly late, and almost immediately headed back out into the city for some food…

…past the many cats-of-the-night

Which turned out pretty ok.

When it was time to head back to the hotel, our welcome cat was there waiting for us (and he was there every day for the remainder of the stay! Gosh I love Istanbul).

And Andy humoured me by posing next to him.

 

And then we all had a round of Welcome Drinks (not affiliated with Welcome Cat) before we went to bed.

A tea for me…

… half a bottle of red wine in a man-sized glass for Andy.

And the next morning.

I’m not sure if this is before-coffee stunned or after-coffee hyped. Either way, it’s 3/4 deer and 1/4 headlights.

This lot are a bit better in the morning:

 

When everyone was sufficiently fed and caffeinated we stumbled down the hill to the old town.

 

 

Are… are these real? This was in an underpass, so I’m kinda hoping they’re just air rifles.

Galata bridge is filled with tourists, fishermen, and a whole bunch of other folk selling things, photographing things (us filthy tourists), or just hanging out.

 

 

 

 

We posed in front of the New Mosque.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our first stop was the Basilica Cistern, the largest of Istanbul’s apparently many underwater caves, which was situated across from this peeling beauty.

 

Importantly wiki tells me that the cistern as built by 7000 slaves, and, AND, was featured in Jame’s Bond From Russia with Love!!

Alas, Sean did not grant us with his presence, but we did get to shuffle around in the quiet, cool, darkness with lots of other tourists while Turkish melodies played in the background.

 

(This photo, and the two below, stolen from Mari-Anne)

 

 

 

The main feature of the cistern is two Medusa heads at the base of columns: one turned on the side, and one upside down (the internet suggests that putting them the wrong way up prevents the magical medusa stone staring stuff from working). It was quite a scrum to get to them, with queues, pushing, and guards calling out ‘one photo only please’,

 

 

 

 

It was hard to leave the cool dark dankness and move up into the bright and shiny sun. I guess we’ve been in Germany for too long eh?
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