THE 19th CENTURY FRENCH SCHOLAR, writer, and traveler Alphonse de Lamartine said that “If one had but a single glance to give the world, one should gaze on Istanbul,” and my excursions yesterday and today made his words seem fantastically astute (if reductive). Today three friends (Amit, Larissa, Jenny) and I took our first trip into historic Istanbul completely on our own, without the assistance of mentors. It was quite an adventure; we had to figure out the transportation on our own, which was an intimidating but manageable task. We took a dolmuş to 4 Levent, then rode the Metro into Taksim. The transportation is clean and easy to navigate, but ridiculously crowded. At Taksim, we had tea and played backgammon on Istiklal Cadessi:
Then, we left the cafe to walk down Istiklal Cadessi:
We walked out of I. Cadessi, down the hill to Galata, which has a bridge crossing the Golden Horn:
Here is a video of Galata Bridge:
Here is a picture from Galata Bridge, with the Sulieman Mosque in the background:
Here is an additional video of the stroll across the bridge:
Here is a video from a really intriguing traditional Middle Eastern music show in the foreground of the Blue Mosque:
Next, we wandered through the narrow streets surrounding the Spice Market, talking with the shop owners. Here is a really good video I took while wandering through the meandering, bustling alleyways:
One owner of a spice shop invited us inside:
Inside of the spice shop:
Next, we wandered over to the New Mosque:
And we happened to be there during the Adhan (call to prayer). It’s fascinating stuff:
Sorry for the repeated onslaught of pictures and videos, but I’m in the phase of my travel here where I want to document everything. Posts will get more reflective and verbally-descriptive shortly.
Also, I know that the pictures are getting distorted, but I am working on fixing this.