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Day #3: Istanbul

Despite the 7 hour time difference and late-ish bed time, we awoke early and feeling well rested. Well, Emerson and I felt well rested… Libby was up part of the night with a sore throat (that thankfully was and has remained otherwise asymptomatic). In any case, we had a nice breakfast in the executive lounge before collecting Mom and heading to the older section of town.

We began the day touring the Hagia Sofia:

It’s truly an amazing space–a sort of pre-modern mash-up, though about a quarter of the interior was covered in scaffolding. The interior light was especially magnificent:
After this, we had lunch in the park, eating simit, a sort of seasame bagel-meets-pretzel. The other really popular street food offering was grilled corn ears like you’d find in Mexico. It’s interesting to see how often similar food concepts are expressed across different cultures. 

Following lunch, we visited the spectacular Blue Mosque:

We then walked around the Hippodrome, a former chariot race course turned center of town action. It was setup for the evening Ramadan festivities:

Next, we visited Topaki Palace, primarily seeing the Harem (home of the sultan and his family) and grounds. The design and architecture here were, as I find most Ottoman architecture, simply splendid. I think the non-figurative, geometric patterns appeal to me especially:

By late afternoon, Emerson was fading fast, having walked all over the city. We took a taxi back to the hotel, ran a few errands (looking–unsuccessfully–for a new camera for me and throat lozenges for Libby), and then had dinner. In the way back to the hotel, I bought a big box of cherries for a few dollars, which were utterly delicious.

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