Istanbul is a wonderful city. Compact but sprawling the european side of the city is chock full of humanity and stuff. every corner every window every store is stuffed full of trinkets, bronze, silver, pewter, tin, steel, plastic, glass, anything you can think of theres a store with thousands of it.

I arrived at the train station and gave a call to Senol a brother to a friend of Korhan, a friend of mine in the states. He sent someone from a hotel he had arranged for me to pick me up and I was guided through the city to the metro and then from the metro I was guided to the hotel lobby. After some fierce negotiation I arranged a room for 40 YTL (Very reasonable) and settled in. I dropped my bags changed my undershirt and headed out into the city. My first desire was to wander and I dropped the map at home and just walked. After getting myself throughly lost I found the University and the Mosque behind it.

I wandered through the mosque and then headed back to the University to get some pictures of the campus. unfortunately for me the campus is for students and faculty only… this is evidenced by the armed guards checking your student ID. having to settle with pictures through the great stone gates I wandered on toward the spice market. I found the spice bazaar and wandered through its narrow streets – stuffed to the brink with every type of item you can imagine, from fruit shaped soaps to pungent herbs and spices, even the occasional electronics store. I wandered through the market for about an hour before finally reaching the light of day. breathing in clear air I settled myself and headed to the New bridge and the bosphorus straight. from there I swung right and headed for the giant mosque near the train station. I entered the mosque and admired once again the clean geometric lines and caligraphy adorning the building. exiting I headed back out into the city I wandered back along the tramway and found my way to the blue mosque. I wandered inside and was blow away by the beauty and intricacy of it. I had to sit down and center myself to begin to absorb and understand the intricacies of the mosque and its writings. it is a beautiful, careful, and special place. Each tile seems etched as a goldsmith doing his finest life’s work.

I sat stunned for I don’t know how long before I walked through and then on. The other thing about mosques that I really enjoy is that they are all about Light and open space. I could admire and enjoy every facet of the mosque because it was well light and open, everywhere fell bright warm light reflecting from the interwoven blue and orange, tan, and white colours.

from there I headed out along the Hippodrome and the German fountain. I came across the Serpent pillar and the beautiful and perfectly preserved egyptian obelisk brought to Istanbul in 550bc.

From that point I headed back into the city searching for an Internet Cafe. I found one and did a cursory upload of Edirne and Istanbul 1. wrote a catch up blog and headed back out into Istanbul’s nightlife. I wandered home and crashed for the night satisfied and ready for a good nights sleep.