Afterwards, I went to the Çemberlitaş hamam, the oldest Turkish bath in Istanbul, it's been in use for about 500 years. I did the whole treatment.
After that, having discovered the bus was leaking, we went to the palace. Very impressive, reminiscent of the Russian palaces i have been to. You can only go in groups and our guide had written a book on it was was pretty knowledgeable. Some impressive rooms.
Finally, we crossed over to the Asian side, so i have now been to all three areas and went to the Panoramia Cafe. Got some OK shots of Istanbul, but it is still cloudy and misty so they are not as good as they could have been. Had a coffee at the café and we will be heading back to the main square and back to the hotel, via Starbucks.
The boat trip is good, but the weather is a problem. Rain forced me downstairs into the bar area rather than the top, and the photos won’t be as good as the light is poor. Amazing mix, and I'd be tempted to stay high up on the northern side in the fashionable areas with more nightlife and travel down in the morning by tram.
First stop on the Bosporus tour was been the spice bazaar. An interesting place, I picked up a few bits and pieces for people and spent quite a bit quite quickly. Despite the name, the Bazaar sells quite a lot more than just spices.
I stopped on route to the Archeology Museum for fries, a beef sandwich and a coke at an outdoors café in the shadow of the Hagia Sophia. Very nice sandwich with a remarkable view.
The modern art gallery is housed in an old shipping warehouse. No photos are allowed, so i have had to check the camera in to a locker. But i did get a student ticket and an audio guide for 6lira, about £2.50.
I couldn’t find the Jewish art gallery, which is supposed to be on the corner of the Kimono stairs. I found the stairs easily enough but not the gallery. The stairs are a nice diversion and quite different from everything around them.
As I had a free afternoon, I headed to New Town to the cinema. It is seriously subterranean! The entrance is on street level, but then you go down about five flights of stairs to get to the screens. It’s a seven screen cinema and screens one and two are at the very bottom, and the top is street level. Would be a scary place to see a horror film!
I sat at the top of it with a Turkish tea, having wandered round the outside and got some fantastic photos. It was at this point I decided I needed to buy myself an dSLR of my own, having borrowed the one I was using for this trip from a friend. Galata tower is also a nightclub after 8pm.
From there I wandered around the hippodrome, there are a series of columns and obelisks stood there now, but it used to be for chariot races. One of them is an Egyptian pillar which looks somewhat out of place.
A lot of venues were closed on Mondays, which was a shame. After a coffee I wandered in the direction of the Grand Bazaar. I found it, had a quick wander through and will go back without the obvious camera and bag and do some shopping.
I found the tomb of one of the Sultans, which as impressive and right on the main road. Which was a little strange. I wandered through some of the more Turkish less touristy areas and stopped for an Ayran, a yogurt drink.
After that, i decided to try the museum I saw the other day, the brand new Istanbul museum of the history of science is amazing. It is a beautiful opulent modern setting in a shaded park. The displays are lit elegantly and the items are remarkable.
The Hagia Sophia is closed on a Monday. Instead i went to the Basilica Cistern, a huge underground cistern supported by 12 rows of 18 columns with two mysterious Medusa heads, one on its side, one upside-down.
Headed straight to the Blue Mosque, its really impressive, and I think if I knew more about architecture it would be more so, for example the courtyard is exactly the same size as the internal space. The domes are massive and the gold calligraphy is impressive! There are be some photos, but they don't do it justice.
After the Archeology museum I headed off to the Bridge to the North Side. The bridge is very cool, all I did was walk across(under) one side have a look at the fish market and come back, as it was relatively late by that point and stuff was closing.
I had a really good afternoon. Went to the Archeology museum, stopping on route for fries, a beef sandwich and a coke at an outdoors café in the shadow of the Hagia Sophia.
I wandered through the grounds of the Topkapi Palace and a Turkish gent started chatting to me; giving me advice on what to do. He said the Bosporus cruise was a must and made no effort to sell me one or recommend a place to go, so I believe him that it is a good idea.He also told me I looked like a Turk. I think there may be some truth to that, even if it’s just I don’t move like a tourist, never have, because I have been hassled very little by shop people and guides and guards have been telling me things in Turkish. Which really doesn’t help me at all, but is flattering.
The weather has been amazing, about 30 degrees, mostly cloudless blue sky, little bit of wind to keep you cool. All in all a very good temp. a little warmer would be nice but still a fair chance I will be decently tanned by the end of the week.