Taksim and Galata
We were all awake by 3am, so we just bummed around the flat catching up with the world and planning our first full day in the city. Around 9.30 we set out and caught the Metro train to Taksim Square, considered the heart of modern Istanbul. From here we headed down Istikal Avenue, a 1.4 km shopping mall, similar to Bourke Street mall in Melbourne. The next hour and a half was spent window shopping, people watching and dodging cars, mopeds and trams. There are some amazing buildings and a lot of history on this avenue, so there was no shortage of things to look at.
From here, we went in search of Galata Tower. This is a place I have wanted to visit for a very long time. There is just something about it that captures my imagination. There was a long line of people waiting to go inside, and as the day was overcast, we decided to come back next week, when the weather will be sunny and the views from the top will be much nicer.
We headed home for a bit of a rest, as we were all still adjusting to European time. After a couple of hours I couldn't sit inside and do nothing anymore, so we went for a walk to Sultanahmet Square, where Sultan Ahmed Mosque and Hagia Sophia are located.
Sultan Ahmed Mosque is the famous Blue Mosque and it is absolutely breathtaking. It is simply the most amazing building I have ever seen. I could go on endlessly, but I will let the photos do the talking....
Sadly, when we got outside, it was raining and almost dark. But right on cue, there were men selling umbrellas for the bargain basement price of 20 turkish lira. Michelle bargained him down to 10 and we grabbed 2 and we began the 2 kilometre walk back to our apartment. Pouring rain, neon lights everywhere and the muslim Call to Prayer reverberating around the streets. It was eerily similar to one of my favourite movies.
We got home wet and hungry and were all asleep by 8pm.