Sunday, 25 January 2009

Last day in Istanbul

My flight home from Istanbul was late afternoon, which meant that I had a morning to spare. So, having packed up (happily, my hotel, the Apricot was quite happy to look after my luggage for me after I checked out, so after packing, I went for a wander around. Having seen all of the sights on my ‘must see’ list, I was ready to buy a few souvenirs I got a tram down to Eminonu to visit the Spice Market (AKA Egyptian Bazaar) this still sells spices, also monumental quantities of Turkish Delight – quite literally – many of the stalls have towers, even sculptures, made out of the stuff , pottery….

I bought a few small gifts for people, and two bowls for myself – when it comes to the china, there are 100’s of different designs, with the cost varying depending on whether they are transfers or hand painted, and how detailed the patterns are. I loved some of the big dishes, but decided that it wasn’t practical to buy one – party because I had no money left, and partly because I would not have had room in my luggage. Maybe another time.

After leaving the market, I noticed some of the local cats, presuambly keeping one another warm..

I then went to look at (or, as it turned out, to look for the Rustem Pasa Mosque. ) This is a small mosque which was described in one of the books I read before coming as ‘the most beautiful mosque in Istanbul’ – It isn’t easy to find, as although you can see the Dome fairly easily, getting to the mosque involved going through a door in the wall of a tiny narrow street lined with booths and stalls, up a staircase and out onto the terrace. There was just one sign on the wall and the first time I saw it I thought it was a sign pointing along the street, rather than in to the entrance. Also, it’s the only one of the mosques which I have visited where the only entrance was by going up a stairway – most seem to have a street level entrance too.

Once I got in, however, I came to the conclusion that the book was right – it is a beautiful building – very small, and will lots of tiling both inside and out. It was also empty. Very tranquil. Because the mosque is small, much more of the tiling is lower and is where you can see it than in, say, the Blue Mosque. Beautiful.

I then caught the tram over the river and to Kabatas where I walked along by the river for a little. There were lots of fish in the water – I could see both fish and jellyfish, just from standing on the quay near the ferries.

A little further along the river I saw this man – I believe the idea is that the balloons are then shot at with pellet guns, but I doubt he would have many takers on a cold December day!

I then just had time to go back to the hotel to collect my baggage, then got the tram to the airport for a thankfully uneventful trip home!


Dragonsally said...

the blue tiling is just so beautiful.

spacedlaw said...

I loved the Egyptian Market (probably because of my passion for food). Did you buy some tea? I think the fact that the mosque is so well hidden and out of the way is the reason why it is so quiet.

Kalipha Linden said...

I couldn't tell you why, but I really love the balloon picture.

Marjorie said...

Thank you. I likes it a lot, too. I think partly it's that there's no colour other than the balloons, and the contrast with cheery balloons and an otherwise lonely sight, but maybe that's just me!

Kalipha Linden said...

Monochrom + baloonysilly!