2010-06-01 -- Istanbul

The first of two 9am tours. We started off with a ten minute bus ride to the Hippodrome / Blue Mosque / St. Sophia / Basilica Cistern. Then rejoined the bus to take us to lunch near the Grand Bazaar. We got back to the hotel at 4pm, with enough time for a power nap, a power swim in the chilly pool, and a power shower to get ready for the 5:30pm departure for dinner.

Dinner was at the Yeniköy Yelken Restaurant, along the Bosphorus. We took a boat ride down, then up the Bosphorus to get to the restaurant, which showed us a great many of the houses on the eastern (Asian) side. Most of the houses are fabulous, some are in need of a few repairs, and quite a few are beat up run down disasters. The guide told us that houses are not allowed to be torn down, they must fall down....so the only way to build a new house along the Bosphorous is to buy one, let it fall apart, then rebuild.


Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 35.0 mm; 1/800 sec, f/6.4, ISO 200
The walled obelisk. Nasty glaring sun and a quick tour made it impossible to get a shot of both this and the obelish of theodosius right next to it.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 28.0 mm; 1/320 sec, f/6.4, ISO 200
Outside the Blue Mosque.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 105.0 mm; 1/250 sec, f/6.4, ISO 200
For some reason, the Blue Mosque is filled with blue radiation.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 50.0 mm; 1/800 sec, f/6.4, ISO 200
Still outside the Blue Mosque. A sign a bit later informed us of the rules (from IMG_7338):

To The Visitors Attention

1. Please remove your shoes and place them in the shelf or put them in a bag
2. The ladies should wear a scarf and a long skirt
3. The gentlemen should be in trousers not in shorts
4. Should not speak aloud inside the mosque
5. Photograph should not be taken diring the prayers
6. Should wait at the rear until the prayers end
7. Should not go beyond the area allocated for visitors
8. For any information contact to the mosque personel

For rule 3, if you happened to be in shorts (as Jeffrey and I were) they kindly provided you with a sheet of fabric with velcro to close it and make a skirt.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 28.0 mm; 1/40 sec, f/6.4, ISO 1600
Sadly, they destroyed the majesty of the mosque by suspending these ugly lights two meters off the floor.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 24.0 mm; 1/13 sec, f/6.4, ISO 3200
There are so many other, much better, pictures of the mosque ceiling, I'm almost embarassed to post this one. I haven't found anyone that includes the sign.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 24.0 mm; 1/20 sec, f/6.4, ISO 1600
Beautiful stained glass, a beautiful ceiling, and a spider web of electric lights. Yuck. Most of the mosque floor was off-limits, only about the rear one-third was open. .endtext .picture="IMG_7365.JPG" Four of the six minarets of the Blue Mosque. Wikipedia says that although the mosque is still active, it has become a popular tourist destination. Look! Complete with food vendors and tourists!



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 45.0 mm; 1/1250 sec, f/6.4, ISO 200
The Blue Mosque.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 50.0 mm; 1/800 sec, f/6.4, ISO 200
The Blue Mosque.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 58.0 mm; 1/1000 sec, f/6.4, ISO 200
Finally got all six minarets. Of course, someone else got a much better picture.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 50.0 mm; 1/500 sec, f/6.4, ISO 200
Minaret and Turkish flag outside St. Sophia in Istanbul.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 50.0 mm; 1/13 sec, f/6.4, ISO 3200
The Imperial Gate Mosaic just inside the entrance of St. Sophia.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 105.0 mm; 1/100 sec, f/6.4, ISO 400
Restoration worker in St. Sophia. ARGH! Why do I not take the extra two minutes to properly frame this stuff? Stupid fast-paced group tours.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II at 16.0 mm; 1/13 sec, f/6.4, ISO 800
Inside of St. Sophia. Quite large, which is good, because it is quite popular with the cruise ship set.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II at 35.0 mm; 1/50 sec, f/6.4, ISO 800
Push, Steve! Push harder, Steve!



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II at 16.0 mm; 1/40 sec, f/3.5, ISO 800
The ceiling of St. Sophia. Notice the one angel with a restored face (upper left). This was discovered, by accident, in 2009.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II at 35.0 mm; 1/15 sec, f/3.5, ISO 800
Directly below the center is a mark on the floor, with orientation.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II at 35.0 mm; 1/100 sec, f/2.8, ISO 3200
Yet another view of the interior of St. Sophia.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II at 30.0 mm; 1/20 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1600
Off in a dusty and lonely corner of St. Sophia, was Woody, the 19th century Ladder. Handmade (huh?! In the 1800's?!), used for the restoration and cleaning of St. Sophia. Not all original, some parts were added in the early 1900's. Its only companion was a single sheet of laser-printed description, encased in a cheap plastic binder.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 24.0 mm; 1/13 sec, f/4.0, ISO 800
Scaffolding used for restoration. I liked the smoky appearance from the webbing around it, but wasn't able to spend too much time wandering around -- always a problem on group tours.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 24.0 mm; 1/30 sec, f/4.0, ISO 800
The mosaic at the southwestern entrance to St. Sophia.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II at 16.0 mm; 2.5 sec, f/9.1, ISO 1600
The Basilica Cistern. This is looking through the pillars in the middle, at an odd angle. The pillars, as one would expect, are on a grid pattern. I suspect, but really have no idea, that a park was built on top of the cistern. The other options are roads, or buildings.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II at 35.0 mm; 1/5 sec, f/9.1, ISO 25600
At the very very other end from the entrance were two medusa. One was upside down (here) and the other was sideways. I didn't bother getting a photo of the other one due to the mob here. Legend / rumor says that these are here to counteract the gaze of the Gorgon. But I just read that on wikipedia.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 65.0 mm; 1/30 sec, f/4.0, ISO 3200
Rugs next door to the Onur Restaurant & Cafe. These were on the way down to the 'facilities'. After lunch, some of us returned here for the sales pitch coffee....just like some of us got in Marrakech.



Canon PowerShot A3100 IS at 6.2 mm; 1/50 sec, f/2.7, ISO 80
Lunch at the Onur Restaurant & Cafe, Meze Platter.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 47.0 mm; 1/500 sec, f/6.4, ISO 400
Freshly squeezed orange juice.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 24.0 mm; 1/500 sec, f/6.4, ISO 400
The entrance ("Gate 1") to the Grand Bazaar in Instanbul. Unlike Marrakesch, this bazaar is clean, orderly, organized and rather boring. Words on the entrance that I don't understand, but maybe google will: "Nuruosmanive Kapisi", "Kapalicarsi". Dated 1461. Somewhere else (maybe on the gate before this one) was "Nuruosmaniye Camii".



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 60.0 mm; 1/25 sec, f/6.4, ISO 400
Lamps in the Grand Bazaar.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 70.0 mm; 1/40 sec, f/4.6, ISO 800
Decorative hanging balls in the Grand Bazaar.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 47.0 mm; 1/40 sec, f/7.0, ISO 800
The main passage in the Grand Bazaar.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 24.0 mm; 1/25 sec, f/7.0, ISO 800
Typical side passage in the Grand Bazaar. Clean, uniform passages. The arches look similar to thos we've seen in mosques, but that could just be the style of construction in use at the time.

We got bored with the bazaar, and went back to our meeting point, a cafe next to the restaurant and carpet shop. I had a suprisingly good "local lemonade" (Efsane Uludag Gazozu, Efasne Sise -- which probably translates to somethine like "lemonade with bubbles"). It reminded Dad of Cream Soda, I detected more vanilla than lemonade flavor.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 40.0 mm; 1/1000 sec, f/6.4, ISO 800
Cat napping, Beggar begging, man watching.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 24.0 mm; 1/400 sec, f/6.4, ISO 100
About this time we wondered if we could take a helicopter back to the airport instead of the bus. We were quoted $150 per person. It'd be fun, and would save us about an hour.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 75.0 mm; 1/320 sec, f/7.0, ISO 100
The helipad, the Cigaran Palace (hotel is behind it) and the second of two bridges linking European Istanbul to Asian Istanbul.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 105.0 mm; 1/320 sec, f/7.0, ISO 100
Shot from a very shaky boat, a guard -- some debate if the guard was a real human or a real statue he was so motionless -- in front of...I'm not sure what he is in front of. There were guards on the street side too. From the bus, I think I saw one move, but again, very very motionless.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 28.0 mm; 1/320 sec, f/7.0, ISO 100
The Amevi.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 105.0 mm; 1/200 sec, f/7.0, ISO 100



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 65.0 mm; 1/200 sec, f/7.0, ISO 100



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 24.0 mm; 1/200 sec, f/6.4, ISO 100
We on the top of the boat liked this house. The rest were inside the boat, getting a tour from the guide.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 55.0 mm; 1/160 sec, f/6.4, ISO 100
There were a few modern houses.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 80.0 mm; 1/320 sec, f/6.4, ISO 100



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 67.0 mm; 1/60 sec, f/6.4, ISO 100



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 92.0 mm; 1/100 sec, f/6.4, ISO 100



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 24.0 mm; 1/800 sec, f/6.4, ISO 100
There is a large power transmission line stretched across the Bosphorous. Two massive towers hold it above the river, you can see one here. The line itself is hard to see here, and that's the point of the picture. There are no balls, flags, or any other decoration on the line that would help, say, a helicopter or plane or tall boat see and miss the line.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 40.0 mm; 1/500 sec, f/6.4, ISO 100
The first of two suspension bridges across the Bosphorous river.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 24.0 mm; 1/125 sec, f/6.4, ISO 100
More houses. The light is getting better.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 75.0 mm; 1/160 sec, f/8.0, ISO 100
A fantastic little palace, currently being restored.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 55.0 mm; 1/160 sec, f/7.0, ISO 100
A "Beskitas" tanker passing in front of a fort in Istanbul. Supposedly, this fort was built by 1,000 soldiers in 110 days. I highly doubt the story. That's a lot of stone to move. (And the light got worse; shot into the sunset)



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 96.0 mm; 1/250 sec, f/8.0, ISO 100
The fort supposedly built by 1,000 soldiers in 110 days.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 92.0 mm; 1/250 sec, f/8.0, ISO 100
Houses and high-rises under the first bridge over the Bosphorous.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 50.0 mm; 1/200 sec, f/8.0, ISO 100
Wow, really good light here, but what a boring picture.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 105.0 mm; 1/200 sec, f/8.0, ISO 100
Fishing in the Bosphorous river in Istanbul.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 40.0 mm; 1/160 sec, f/8.0, ISO 100



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 105.0 mm; 1/250 sec, f/8.0, ISO 100
The Bosphorous links the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara to the Aegean Sea to the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean. There is quite a bit of traffic on it. Many large (but not massive) tankers passed us on their way out of the Black Sea.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 105.0 mm; 1/200 sec, f/8.0, ISO 100



Canon PowerShot A3100 IS at 6.2 mm; 1/100 sec, f/2.7, ISO 80
For a cold starter, "Sea Bass wrapped with Black Sea Cabbage". The stuffing was onions and Kuş üzümü, literally "bird grape", but basically currants. Mom and I shared this; we both detected a lot of spice.



Canon PowerShot A3100 IS at 6.2 mm; 1/30 sec, f/2.7, ISO 100
For a hot starter, "Grilled Octopus". It looks rather gross, but tasted good enough. The char was a bit excessive. Texture was a slight bit rubbery.



Canon PowerShot A3100 IS at 6.2 mm; 1/8 sec, f/2.7, ISO 800
The main course was flaming Grouper encased in salt. Not sure why it was set on fire, since it was still encased in salt. The fish was delicious, tender, and drizzled with a spicy butter. Presentation was a disaster, just a pile of fish meat, but by now it was dark enough that it didn't matter much.



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