Istanbul, Not Constantinople

Even old New York, was once New Amsterdam.  Traveling from Romania to Turkey was a 20 hour odyssey fromBucharest to Istanbul in a vintage 1950s train car with no air conditioning with the summer sun beating in to the window from noon until dusk.  We stayed not far from the famed Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. Massive religious wonders.  We paid the entrance fee to Hagia Sophia to get in as it was a museum, however, the Blue Mosque is a working mosque and I couldn’t get in because I wore shorts.  So Jill made it in, and of course probably played up how good it was to make me jealous (just like when we were in Rome and she was wearing a tank top and couldn’t get into a Cathedral so she borrowed my shirt to get in).  The Hagia Sophia is a mosque converted from a Catholic structure built in the 500s.  Apparently the Turks plastered over the Christian mosaics, and have been partially uncovered recently.  So you have both Muslim and Christian relics in one place. 

So Jill needed new sunglasses and we were at the Grand Bazaar, the largest covered market in the world, a giant place to buy jewelry, chess sets, upholstery, leather jackets, and sunglasses.  Most of this stuff I would have to assume are knock offs.  Anyway, Jill went to like 8 shops and found the same pair and her highest quote was 100 bucks and she bought them for 10.  People are always trying to scam tourists.

Turkish Delights.  Yum!  We made our way to a spice market in Istanbul.  And they were selling tons and tons of freshly made Turkish Delights.  I had no idea what a Turkish Delight was.  After telling one of the store owners this, he offered us samples.  We then repeated this process until we felt sick.  It is a jelly type candy with nuts (usually).  They don’t taste sweet, but they are made of sugar, so it’s weird.  However, diagnosis…delicious.   

So we found out it is harder to get a Turkish Kebap in Turkey than it is in Germany.  If you do find one, they are 2-3 times more expensive, with less meat, and don’t taste as good. 

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