July 14, 2014

Only the Locals Know

Our tour through Istanbul continues with our family from Utah. We visited some places that tourists don’t know about. We started off seeing Kariye Chapel (Chora Chapel) that is located just outside the old wall of Istanbul. At one point it was a Byzantine Christian Chapel and then was turned into a mosque.

They have started to uncover the old gold and colorful Christian art that represents old Byzantium. We walked around and tried to figure out which Bible stories were being depicted in each scene.

Next we went to eat at a restaurant high up on the old wall of Istanbul: Zeyrekhane. The restaurant is an old ruin that was being used for a sheep corral and it was turned into the restaurant in the late 1990’s. They kept the exterior exposed and unique. The food was good (it always is here in the city) and the view was amazing! We could see over to the Sulimaniye Mosque and down to the Bosphorus and the Galata Bridge. Istanbul really is a magical place.

Random pineapple chandelier

The last stop of the day was a swim in the Bosphorus. It is something I have wanted to do since we have been here and Lady Hiva told me that she wouldn’t do it because of the Jelly Fish. Granted I don’t like them either, but I did not want to give up on a chance to go swimming in between two continents! Luckily, I had two crazy people who would go swimming with me!

We saw some aspects of Istanbul we would never have seen without people that live here. But now we know! So when you all visit we can take you. 

(Oh, and we finally made it to Taksim Square—but everyone knows that, right?)

July 12, 2014

Mosques With The Millers


The trip with our family has continued throughout the week. It has been fun to travel with them and hear about Istanbul over the years. We were able to see some parts of the city that we didn’t know existed.

We ate dinner at one of the old part of the city just over Dolmabace in a home that overlooks the Palace and the Bosphorus. It was BEAUTIFUL to sit in the cool evening air and watch the sunset. The home and the view are part of the culture of Istanbul—sadly, I think that it is one that the Modern Istanbul is losing so we were glad to sit and enjoy it.

Traditional Turkish Fountain

We toured the Deniz Muzesi (Sea Museum) and saw ornate boats for the Ottoman Sultans in all their luxurious splendor. We liked seeing the well done museum and the features of Istanbul’s past displayed.

Boats for the Ottoman Sultans

Most of the last few days were filled with visits to Istanbul’s mosques. Some of them popular to visit because of tourism or history and others are more hidden from the general public. The reality is that each of them have their beauty in style and architecture.

We went to Rustempasa Cami and then to Sulimaniye Cami. Rustempasa Cami is hidden among the busy shopping streets near the Spice Bazaar. And Sulimaniye Cami is up on top of one of the “Seven Hills” of Istanbul. In size and splendor, it rivals the great Blue Mosque down in the city center. Because it is Ramadan this month there are several chances to listen to the Call to Prayer and readings inside the mosque. In one of the mosques there were some young men practicing their melodic singing of the scriptures from the Koran by memory! TALK ABOUT MEMORIZATION SKILLS! There were several older men reading along to make sure it was done correctly.

We love the fresh orange and lemon juice here



This is where they wash their feet, hands and face before going in to worship
Our little Lucky Dragon has been such a sport. We have traipsed him all over the city and for hours on end and he loves all that he sees. One he finally falls asleep in his stroller he is out for a few hours. He wants to crawl everywhere and see everything. We have to wash his feet and legs whenever we get a chance to keep him semi-clean. People love to talk with him and say ‘hello.’ They are always offering us gifts for him and wanting to hold him, give him ‘high fives’ (Or “Chuck” in Turkish), and one guy offered to wash his face and hands for us—why not? Tau’aho seemed to like it, who knows where the water came from or how clean it was, but the gesture was kind…so we went with it.

It is COLD!

Waiting for the metro after a LONG day
 It has been fun to have family here and we are glad they let us invite ourselves to tag-a-long with them. Lucky seems to really like having extra people who will play with him.