11 Jan

Sorry for the delay in programming. Our internet has been out for the last week or so. We’re back online now and hoping to stay that way.

Saturday, December 25, 9ish local time


Patrick and I take off our shoes and walk into the building, admiring the massive minarets and vast inner courtyard. The inside takes our breath away with it’s bright blue painted tiles covering every inch of the walls and dome. The artistry is amazing, I want to lay down on the floor and look up. First though, I read out loud from Rick Steves’ Istanbul’s section on the Hagia Sophia. “Look above the door you just entered, the mosaic above is of the Madonna and child…” Up we look, but no mosaic, just traditional Islamic tile design. Huh.  Back to the book, “to your right is the Imperial Gate…” but there’s no gate on our right. “Upstairs is the gallery…” but there is no upstairs. We’re confused, spinning around the room with the guidebook’s narration trying to orient ourselves. Maybe the book is out of date?  Then we flip a few pages over and realize…we’re in the Blue Mosque, not the Hagia Sophia.

Blue Mosque

Blue Mosque

Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia


I’m enjoying my Christmas turkey in a place called Lale Restaurant, or the pudding shop. There are black and white pictures of long haired hippies all over the walls. I read about the history of the place and it turns out that in the 60’s it became a meeting place for travelers trekking through Asia and Europe.  They would stop at the pudding shop to meet up, swap stories, tack notes and information on the bulletin board and go on their way.

3ish pm

We’re underground in an endlessly large, eerily lit cavern, the Underground Cistern. There are Roman pillars as far as the eye can see and we hear the constant drip-drip of water seeping through the earth above us. Illuminated by the red-glow of the few lights, we see large fish swimming in the shallow water below our feet. Finn makes a noise and then starts at the echo. He squirms with excitement as he lets out loud chirps and listens to the echoes.

Underground Cistern

Underground Cistern

11ish pm

We’re back at our hotel after a full day out. Finn is sound asleep on the bed and we’re getting ready to head that way ourselves. As we’re settling in, Patrick grabs my iTouch and open the miniPiano app. He softly taps out “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” and then “Silent Night.”


One Response to “Snippets”

  1. Patrick January 11, 2009 at 10:31 pm #

    Three of my favorite moments from the day: 1) Just outside the underground cistern is a spot that marks the center of the world, or so the Ottomans thought. 2) As we were walking into the Hagia Sophia, we overheard a guy say to a woman next to him, “This took over a thousand years to build.” Actually, five. From 532-537 AD. All the guidebooks say it. But five is almost a thousand. 3) Inside the Hagia Sophia, there are beautiful mosaics dating back over a thousand years. At several points, people were turned around with their backs to the mosaics, doing their best to get a look at Finn.

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