This morning, we flew from Kayseri back to Istanbul and felt ourselves shift into the final leg of our trip. By early afternoon, we’d checked into our hotel. After a few minutes of gathering our wits and brushing our hairs, we headed out to visit a particularly wonderful little place called the Chora Church/Kariye Kilise (Byron and I had been there before but wanted to drag these lady particular pals through it, too). Then we returned to the Spice Market to find sumac, soap, and sweatshirts. That chaotic craziness was followed by dinner and an evening walk across The Golden Horn.
The day in review, in pictures:
Here’s our room at the Hotel Ararat. The queer painted face is looking across the room directly into a wall-sized mirror, all of which has the effect of creeping the patchouli out of me.
Virginia and Kirsten’s room is a more soothing blue, with a sun rising on the wall. It’s almost enough to make you think you could actually spread your arms out wide and turn in a full circle.
This door to a home outside the Chora Church wins the award for Most Picturesque of the entire trip, and that’s saying something.
The exterior of the Chora Church (also called the Kariye Kilise). Isn’t Gilligan cute?
One of the mosaic-ed domes inside the Chora Church. Domes do not suck.
The other thing that Is Not Suck is Byron, especially when he’s doing some quick sketching as he walks around the jewel box of a place that is the Chora Church.
Today’s revelation: arches are nice.
In case you’re tired of static images, perhaps I can intrigue you anew by tossing out a couple quick (and jerky!) videos shot inside the Chora; the battery in the camera was dying, so they’re definitely quick and off-the-cuff:
We had some tea across the street from the Chora. In addition to tea, they also do some fierce grilling (as does nearly every Turkish restaurant). Such pretty stuff. Byron bought some of those flat skewers to bring home, so he can make a couple of his favorite kebabs and meatballs. When he’s not looking, Paco and I are going to borrow his skewers and launch them from a crossbow.
After the Chora Church, we went once again to the Spice Market so as to pick up a few last gifts and re-up our lokum stash. See how jinglers plus evil eyes make for a visual feast? Jinglers never go wrong.
In my defense, I’m saving the lokum for later. I actually had it vacuum sealed to take home. Thus, I was well within all rights when I bought baklava. Not from this guy, though. But tomorrow I’m going to him. I mean, in case I find I’ve run short.
After dinner, we walked across the Galata Bridge, which is full of fisherman–at all hours–and rice pilav/chicken carts (I smell tomorrow’s dinner!). Istanbul after dark is a whole new Istanbul.
I’m glad we get one more day in this amazing city, so we have a few more hours to catch its dizzying array of moods.
Tomorrow morning, we take the ferry from the European side of the city to the Asian side. Then we hop the Metro to our friend Elaine’s neighborhood. She’s having us over for brunch and some hang out time with the kids. Mostly, I’m excited to have a few more hours with someone dear and to see an area of Istanbul that’s not Tourist Central. I’m also excited because Elaine has a three-year-old who’s learning to blow his own nose.