Thursday, 22 January 2009

Rivers and Markets and Mosques (Oh Boy)

A little to my own surprise, I found a boat heading back towards Eminonu without much difficulty. After leaving the dock we had to wait around, marking time, as there was a very large container ship coming down the river which obviously had right of way – there were many other smaller vessels also all having to wait, so once it was past and we were all ready to continue there was quite the little fleet making its way across. We passed directly under the stern of the container ship and can I just say – HUGE !! I took a number of photos, but they really don’t convey the sheer size, either of the ship or the body of water. I enjoyed the trip, but was glad I had decided against the 3 hour long Bosphorus river trip, as I think that would have been altogether too cold and windy.

I sent some time exploring the area near to the ferries. It’s a very busy, bustling area, where you realise that this is a big city, not just a tourist attraction. Outside the ferry terminals there are dozens of stalls selling fish, bread, drinks, oysters ( man with bucket of oysters, knife to open them, and a lemon. I decided not to try .) On the opposite side of the road and the tramway (reached by way of a subway, lined with stalls selling cheap clothes, electricals and toys) is the Yenii Camii, or New Mosque, outside, there are people selling grain and (no doubt as a direct result) there are thousands of pigeons. Beyond the mosque is a market, selling pet food, and also pets and other animals – doves and fancy chickens and, a little disturbingly, leeches. The leeches were displayed tastefully in the big water bottles that fit into water coolers. I have been trying to think of a situation in which one might suddenly want to buy a leech – (do they make good pets?) but I haven’t managed it yet.

Then there is the Egyptian bazaar (spice market) which was closed the first time I passed, and then beyond that a jumble of increasingly (or should that be decreasingly) narrow streets.

I walked up to the Suleymani mosque, but unfortunately it was mostly closed as it is undergoing renovation, so I looked around outside, then found a tea-garden and enjoyed a glass of tea. I could have had a Nargile (water pipe) but I decided to give that a miss, too, Much more interesting to watch others. I got a little lost on my way back (Quelle surprise!) which was a little worrying, as most of the shops and so forth were closed, so I found myself wandering through deserted streets and alleys as it was getting dark, which is never much fun. But after a couple of (well, alright, about 10) false turns I found my way back to the river.

I finished the evening with a meal at an interesting restaurant –clearly designed for tourists, but the food was good, and you got to watch the owners mum making Gozleme (pancakes) in the window, so what’s not to like?


spacedlaw said...

It's so easy and so much fun to get lost in Istanbul, it's like a travel through time.

Dragonsally said...

wanna go there!

Marjorie said...

sally - you will, one day. Meantimes, vicarious travel!

Nathalie - you're so right - 21st century one street, then turn the corner and you could be in the middle ages.

Only one more Turkey post to do, then its all over and I shall have to think of soemthing else to blog about.