Wednesday, October 29

Turkey 2008 - The Post Office

I couldn't find a post box for you Virginia - will the main Post Office do?

Turkey 2008 - Carpet Capers

I guess this was to demonstrate skill - but I found it more than a little surreal!

Tuesday, October 28

Denmark 2008 - Watch this Space!

As some of you may know, I've been away in Denmark visiting family and friends. My Danish photos will be up soon, but I have to finish blogging my Istanbul ones first!

Thank you for all your comments.

Friday, October 17

Turkey 2008 - A little Something for Dr Bones at the Topkapi Palace

I LOVE the teeth!

Turkey 2008 - Istanbul Mosaic Museum

The Blue Mosque was built on the site of the Byzantine Imperial Palace. Archaeological investigations excavations have unearthed a wonderful tessellated pavement, which is housed where it was found (although restored) in a sort of shack, which fronts onto the little bazaar where we saw the chickens.

The extent of the pavement and the artistry is quite incredible - and we made up half the visitors! Something of this age and quality would have people queuing round the block in London. It's an indication of just how much there is to see in Istanbul I guess.

Here are some of my favourites - three bears (in search of honey)...

...a sad donkey...

...a tantalising leg...

...and a Frenchman?

Turkey 2008 - The Cats of Istanbul

Istanbul is full of feral cats. Sadly, I didn't get a pic. of the one pet cat I saw (with a collar) - who spent his days snoozing (testing?) on the stock in a carpet shop.

This is a cat from outside the Hagia Sophia.

This chap is a soul brother of the late, lamented Hobbes from the Queen's Head. He was lying, snoozing in the middle of a station platform. Oblivious of all the noise and bustle around him.

Byzantine Billy!

Turkey 2008 - A Holiday Romance for Egg and Pegg?

By the side of the Blue Mosque is a little shopping arcade. And what did we find, right in the middle of one of the busiest cities in the world? Some chickens pecking around - it was rather nice.

I thought this chap was rather fine. I think the 'Queen Street Two' would rather like him too!

Turkey 2008 - The Orient Express

The Orient Express doesn't terminate in Istanbul any longer - but you can still find the restaurant...

...on platform 2b.

It was built in 1890 - on the cusp of Gothic becoming Art Nouveau, with an added splash of Ottoman sensibilities. It's a fantastic space.

For some reason (even when he we told him we were English) our waiter spoke to us in French. We played along (spoke along?) and it became a running joke between us. The food was good (but you might as well eat in cheap places as posh ones in Istanbul, as the food tends to be the same but better) - and it was a really fun evening.

Thursday, October 16

Turkey 2008 - A Special Moment on Galata Bridge

Sunset on the 10th October found us on the Galata Bridge...

...along with a number of fishermen. Despite the traffic, the smell of grilling sardines and fish bait...

...it's a very romantic place. Which is only fitting...because on the 10th October 1998...this lovely Boy...

...and the delightful Miss T...

...got MARRIED. I like this photo best...

...although you may prefer this one, as it doesn't look like either of us have a minaret growing out of our heads.

I'm looking forward to the next ten years!

Turkey 2008 - Blue Mosque

Here is a view of the Blue Mosque from inside the Hagia Sophia. It was kindly taken by The Boy, as I was too short to see out of the window!

It's another fabulous building - but it was an absolute zoo inside.

It didn't help that I was absolutely SEETHING because so few women had bothered to cover their heads. It was so disrespectful. The Blue Mosque is a place of worship, not a museum, and tourists are allowed in, for free, as guests.

I stopped fuming for long enough to take some shots of the tiles...

...for which the mosque...

...is justly famous.

They're not just blue :-)

I was stunned by the stained glass - I'd never associated it with mosques before, but then I haven't been to many.

Turkey 2008 - Hagia Sophia Details

Here are some little details from around the Hagia Sophia which caught my eye. Here is a view from behind one of the round inscription screens...

...and a light fitting waiting to be put back in place.

The stone work is amazing, there was a little row of crosses...

...this lovely jar (isn't Arabic script beautiful?)....

...intricate tracery at the top of columns...

...this little fish...

...a basket of fruit...

...and some vine leaves.

I always keep my eyes peeled for interesting door furniture - like these lovely flowers...

...beautiful wrought handles...

...and this amazing door which took my breath away.

Wednesday, October 15

Turkey 2008 - Hagia Sophia - Ayasofya Mosque

After the Turks took Constantinople, the Hagia Sophia became the Ayasofya Mosque (it's now a museum). Islamic elements were added over time.

The marble work is very fine....

...but not always quite what it seems. Once I realised that there was a mixture of marble and 'marble effect' (because of weight issues I think), I tried to tell which was which, but it was very difficult.

The minbar is especially lovely.

It's like a little building itself.

The mihrab, which makes the direction of Mecca, is exquisite. It is however, VERY hard to get a decent shot of it, as most tourists sem to want to have their picture taken in front of it. It's a shame, that such a beautiful expression of faith is treated with so little respect.