August 1, 2013

Archaeology and the Bosporus

Melissa and I met over a simple yet fresh and delectable breakfast the following morning to plan our attack of another day of tourism. First on the list was the archeology museum, adjoining the Tokapi palace. In no more than 10 minutes from the door of our hostel, we were at the first building within the museum seeing artifacts from Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Babylonian, Hittite, Assyrian and early Ottoman civilisations. The constant reminders of the high level of advancement of these civilisations before the rise of central Europe kept on amazing. The cuneiform tablets were pretty amazing too and to see words written millennia ago was quite humbling. Before we knew it, we had been browsing for a good two hours so we made a swift sweep of tiled pavilion with it's painted works.

Off to the docks for a ferry tour up the Bosporus, between the Asian and European coasts. While waiting for it to come, we shot across the road to behold our first Mosque. The 'New' mosque was one of the biggest mosques and it was my first opportunity to admire the floor to dome painting and glazing to adorn the interior. After some listening and happy snaps it was back to the ferry.

We picked up some cool little map based audio/visual guides for the ferry trip. We could simply tap which site we wanted to hear about while we sat on the covered bow of the two floor ferry. It took a good hour and a half to float to the mid tour termination. The number and quality of the Sultan's different palaces was quite incredible. It seemed that just about every sultan had to have his own. It also became obvious just how many mosques are smattered over the landscape. Even more obvious when the call to prayer blared across the landscape through the minaret speakers.

After doing a bit of bargaining, we found ourselves sat at a waterside fish restaurant where we had some grilled sea bass before some real Turkish gelato. With a bit more time we could have made the castle on the peak of the nearby hill but with a well paced meal to be had, we were content to have a little nap on the way back to the hostel. The sun continued to fill the air with moist heat, finally bringing us back to the hostel as the sun began to fall below the buildings.

I woke from a evening siesta amongst the other exhausted guys in the room at 10pm ready for dinner and met up with a Mexican guy. We roamed and after finding an alright place close to the hostel, it was to the roof bar. There were heaps of people I'd bumped into over the last 48 hours, pre-drinking for a night out to Takasim square. I stayed back and took a 2am night for another tourism workout the following morning.

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