January 28: Istanbul
LF 02 - 02 - 2010

Day 28...Istanbul. I woke up in Canakkale this morning to the Adhan, the call to prayer. It's amazing that it is loud enough to be heard throughout the city but quiet enough to not wake everyone up, my roommate slept right through it. We left early in the morning on a coach and drove on to a ferry. The ferry took us form the Asian side of Turkey to the European side. The time on the ferry was extremely short, just enough time for six rounds of 20 questions and bird watching (picture to the upper right). We chose 20 questions because it didn't require any electricity and we didn't have to carry an items to play. Once off the ferry we had a drive of about 3 hours to a lunch stop. Lunch consisted of rice and fried cauliflower. The food was delicious except for the fact that it was cold, but it is to be expected since the restaurant was a truck stop. Following lunch was an even longer bus ride. While on the bus our guide, Nam, told us all about culture and traditions in Turkey. Heavy traffic on the roads of Istanbul resulted in less time in Topkapi Palace (picture to the lower right). The pieces in the treasury were impressive but there were very few pieces in the collection. Even with the time constraints I was able to see the Sultan's clothing collection. Several of the looks had long sleeves and heavy pattern fabrics. Upon exiting the palace we were faced with light rain, and Nam suggested a few eating locations. On the way to the hotel traffic was slow and we were able to do window shop from our seats. I love all the rugs and lamps, but buying a large item would be difficult and inconvenient. For dinner we took one of Nam's suggestions and ate at a place famous for meat balls. The Blue Mosque was close and we decided to see it up close since the rain had stopped. We had just gotten to the front steps when it started pouring and we turned back. The rain kept getting heavier and heavier; there was even thunder and lightning. We eventually started running to get to the hotel quicker, and we ended up running to far and took longer to get back. I'm looking forward to tomorrow after catching a glimpse of both the Blue Mosque and the Haga Sofia.

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