We landed at Istanbul airport in the early afternoon and took a shuttle along the waterfront to the old city. I thought I’d post a map to give you some perspective about where in the world we are (right there at the blue dot).
Istanbul is the only city in the world that I know of that lies on two continents, europe and asia. It is split by the Bosphorus which connects the Black Sea on the north to the Marmara, an inland sea on the south.
Here you can see a number of oil tankers anchored in the Marmara, probably awaiting clearance to go into the Black Sea to be loaded.
We’re staying in Istanbul at the Tashkonak Hotel which is located very near the Blue Mosque, right in the heart of the Sultanahmet, the old city.
Our room is small, but just perfect, with a little balcony overlooking a courtyard and an ancient roman wall. Here we are on the balcony.
After getting settled, we took a short walk to see the exterior of some of the famous buildings. Here’s the Hagia Sophia:
And here’s the Blue Mosque:
The Blue Mosque is surrounded by a wall with numerous minarets:
After a couple hours, we started feeling jet lag, so we went back to the hotel. We listened to the müezzin sing the evening call for worship from a mosque right across the street from our hotel, and then took a “short” nap. We must have been exhausted because we slept for five hours! We awoke hungry at 9:30 p.m. and went out for dinner, after which we walked back past the Blue Mosque which was all lit up. I liked this picture of the Blue Mosque’s minarets, taken through the Kaiser Wilhelm fountain.
The Hagia Sophia was also all lit up:
It’s really quite enchanting here at night.