I woke up the next morning, well rested obviously. I wondered to myself, “Is it normal to suffer from jet lag when you travel three hours in the same timezone?” Oh well, I got up to pray and then I sat preparing all my touristy supplies, iPad, camera, backpack, bottles of water and of course my phones.
When 7 o’clock rolled around, I headed to the hotel restaurant for breakfast. I sat in front of a window with a wonderful view of the Bosphorus Strait. The window was open so I also felt a nice cool breeze.
In the distance you can see one of the bridges that goes to the European side of the country as well as some mountains. It was hard to even eat when this is what I saw. I hardly ever see things like that any more. I snapped back and remembered that I still needed to get cash. I quickly finished my breakfast and ran downstairs. That’s a lie. I ran to the elevator. I walked down the road and down the steep hill toward the ATM I had seen the previous day. I got my money and headed back to the hotel lobby because the tour bus was supposed to be there by 8:00. I waited in the lobby like a good tourist until the bus came.
First stop, the always talked about Blue Mosque. I was surprised to learn that it’s not blue, at least not outside. I was walking and fell into a tourist trap with a man trying to sell me a book about Istanbul which I bought. As usual, he spoke to me in Arabic since that’s what people assume I speak. I told him, “I speak English.” I don’t know why I don’t just speak Arabic and make everyone happy. Then two ladies asked me if I spoke Arabic to which I said yes. Their chit chat caused me to get behind and I couldn’t find my group. Great! The last thing I needed was to be lost in a foreign country on my first real day out. I ran frantically looking from right to left, front to back. No sign of my friends or any other members of the group. Good job! I was starting to sweat and get nervous but still had the time to snap a few pictures. I walked to an area outside the mosque and finally decided to call my friend who tried desperately to direct me to where they were. I got inside, out of breath, and started snapping. That’s what I do. Turns out the “blue” they’re referring to has to do with the inside of the mosque.
I have to be honest, my shots could have been better. I’m not a photographer. I’m only pretending to be. My camera was on manual focus, as if I knew what I was doing. In any case, it was really nice to see the mosque that I had heard so much about.
If you ever visit Turkey, and I recommend that you do, be sure to visit the Blue Mosque in Istanbul. It was amazing to see it especially since it’s from about 1609. I’m guessing it’s as beautiful today as it was when it was first built. But do remember to keep up with your tour guide and/or group.
Up next, Visiting Hagia Sophia