Day 10 – Istanbul – Chora Church, Palace of the Porphyrogenitus, Theodosian Walls, Fatih Mosque, Valens Aqueduct, The Prince’s Mosque, Suleymaniye Mosque, and a terrible Dinner!
I warned Amanda that today would be a busy day – lots of walking and maybe some shopping.
We grabbed a taxi immediately outside of our hotel and he took us around the sea walls to Chora Church. He kept hinting that he could give us a big tour but I settled for the 25TL trip and let him go. Chora is hard to get to unless you like buses or take a taxi but it has some of the most amazing mosaics and frescoes you will ever see.
There is great shopping near the church and you can get some great deals on ceramic tiles but I told Amanda she had to wait to shop until we circled back to the church. We then followed the Theodosian land walls to to the Palace of the Porphyrogenitus which for the life of me I cannot pronounce (and needed to on camera) which is a ruin of a palace that used to be a poorhouse, brothel, treasury, menagerie and now is being restored as an event space. We then climbed the Theodosian Walls (mom don’t worry its more dangerous trying to cross the street here) the walls are high but like 12 feet thick and you get some amazing views of the city – plus you are standing on the 5th century walls of Constantinople!
Then we went back and did some shopping.
I asked a taxi driver to take us to Fatih Mosque but he was being a jerk about price so instead of haggling I just go out and the driver in the next cab laughed at him and undercut him by half. Fatih is nice and Mehmet the Conqueror (who conquered Constantinople in 1453) is buried there. We then walked to the Valens Aqueduct which is a CRAZY busy intersection and a huge structure. Then to two more mosques The Prince’s Mosque & Suleymaniye Mosque. Both are spectacular in their own ways. It is so hard to photograph Mosques from the outside – the closer you get – the less you see because the domes vanish.
The park in front of Suleymaniye was bizarre – it was like a sanctuary for feral cats – I am not kidding we saw over 100 cats just running around in this green space – it was almost scary!
We walked through the part of town that had vest shops but alas I couldn’t find anything that I liked (yet). We also stopped at a grocery store to get some essentials – so much cheaper to shop were the locals shop. On the street we grabbed 1TL of white cherries – that is 62 cents for a big bag of cherries!
A quick metro ride and we were back at the hotel – after we headed to dinner and it was just lousy – the food was lousy – the service was smarmy – and I think it made us both a little sick. You can’t win them all.
Tomorrow back to Asia!