Monday, January 21, 2013

Istanbul: Day 3

Hey folks,

I’ve been really bad at keeping the pictures from the trip to Istanbul coming and by now, I have the sullen feeling that nobody cares about them anymore. Nevertheless, I have the urge to finish what I’ve started so here they are, here’s day 3.

Personally, for me, this was the day we saw the most. I’m not saying it was my favourite day but still, there are lots of pictures to share. After we had already been stuck at the university the night before because of a huge downpour, the rain continued on day 3. Nevertheless, we started out as adventurous as always, making our way to the Blue Mosque, which was only a five minute walk from our hostel. Unfortunately, we could not enter because it was Friday, which means even more and even more important prayers in Islam. Instead, we moved on to see a Sultan’s tomb which was just around the corner. It was really impressive, especially seeing how many children and wives he had. The atmosphere in the tomb was also impressive, we felt overwhelmed and pensive.

Prem sheltering one of the many cats from the rain with the fancy umbrellas everybody got for one Turkish Lira.

First look at the Blue Mosque.

Me, my broken Umbrella and the Blue Mosque.

Listening to Norbert.

Inside the Sultan's tomb.

The coffins: The white things mean it's a boy and the Sultan's is the one in the back with the fence surrounding it. The children are in the front, the third row are his wives.

After that, we moved on to the Grand Bazaar – an experience we had all been looking forward to because it gave us some time off from all the heavy academic stuff. The night before, Norbert had mentioned that we might not make it there, which freaked most of us out but during a full day of rain, the indoors shopping spree seemed to be a good idea. We learned how to negotiate and all got lost with all the Turkish touristy merchandise – I bought a tiny waterpipe, Aladdin’s lamp, a bracelet, an ‘evil eye’ and probably some more stuff I cannot remember right now. My favourite moment was when I checked out some of the waterpipes because I really wanted to get one as a Christmas gift for my bf. As I asked the vendor if it functioned properly, he told me ‘Yes, yes – you put marijuana in here and then smoke it!’. I bought it anyway, along with Turkish nictotine-free tobacco, just needed to clarify that, haha.

The oldest part of the Grand Bazaar, old Byzantine structures that are similar to the one's underneath the café.

Next stop on our list was an Ottoman graveyard. Norbert gave one of his little lectures in the middle of the street again that we’ve gotten so used to during that trip and we all strolled around, taking in the history surrounding us. Then, we finally made it into the famous Blue Mosque. Taking off our shoes and covering our hair with shawls made the experience quite real and walking around in socks gave you the impression that a mosque is a peaceful and cosy place.

The Ottoman Graveyard

The fes on top of the gravestone means that he was royal.

Group picture in front of the Blue Mosque (stolen from Prem, again).

Jade and me wore leggins so we had to cover our legs with these shawls.
Although we had already seen so much that day, it was afternoon when we made our way across the Golden Horn to see the Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk. We had read a memoir by this author in the seminar, called “Istanbul – Memories and the City”, which was the actual reason for us to make this trip. The author wrote this another amazing novel about an eternal, complicated lovestory and in this novel the protagonist collects things that remind him of his love and ends up building a museum displaying those. Now, after publishing the novel, Pamuk actually went out and build the museum, just as it is described in the book. For a literature student, it was so fascinating seeing the boundaries between fact and fiction blur. There were no cameras allowed inside unfortunately :(.

Blurry group picture in front of the Museum of Innocence (stolen from Prem).

When we came out it was already dark and we went to Taksim, the ‘modern’ part of the city with all the big stores and night clubs. Norbert wanted to show us a patisserie where Pamuk himself went when he still lived in Turkey but as we arrived there, we saw that it was in the process of being demolished. You can read more about it here and here. We were pretty shocked and glad to get out of Taksim, there were so many people around and they didn’t seem very pleased about the demolishment of the historical buildings. The first video shows the inside of the Patisserie before they kicked us out and the second one shows a huge crowd on Taksim Square waiting for a building to be demolished.

Inside the patisserie.

One of the beautiful 'French' structures similar to those being demolished.

After we got back to Sultanahmet, we ended up at our favourite hang-out again and had a quiet evening, trying to understand all those amazing things we saw that day.

I stole this picture from someone... I think it was Chloe, haha.


Lots of love from Canterbury,


PS: Here, you can find some videos Prem made during our trip, I'll post the next one's when I came around to posting the pictures of the days he documents.
Day 3 (btw I wasn't out with them at night because I was too tired, so I'm not taking responsibility for the last part of thet video, hahaha)

PPS: Es tut mir Leid, ich hatte keine Lust, das alles ins Deutsche zu übersetzen, aber den meisten von euch habe ich ja schon von den Sachen erzählt :)