|I'm rich!!! Not really but I can dream :-)|
|Our Turkish Airlines flight|
|The hallway on our floor|
|Our changing area|
|The Hagia Sofya|
The inside of the Sofya was nothing short of awe inspiring; from the artwork, to the chandeliers, to the Arabic carvings on the walls. It was gorgeous beyond description. I only wish the pictures truly captured how beautiful this place was. Looking around the walls I immediately noticed that there were huge hangings with the names of the first 4 Muslim caliphs written in Arabic with hangings of Allah and Muhammad in the front. It was so exciting seeing things that I had only just studied and learned about one semester ago. The fact that I knew and could identify the Caliphs, read the prayers on the walls, and understand the meanings of a great deal of the Arabic script, was truly amazing.
|Abu Bakr (the 1st Caliph)|
|Allah and Muhammad|
|Ali and Hussein (2 of the first 4 Caliphs)|
|Hassan (1 of the first 4 Caliphs)|
|Taking it all in|
|Finally a language I know!|
|Inside the Mosque in front of the prayer area|
|Susanna being a good Muslim!|
|The gardens outside of the mosque|
|In the gardens with the mosque in the background|
|It's almost to beautiful to be real|
|The Blue Mosque|
|The beautiful little restaurant whee we ate our first meal|
|Probably the best lamb I have ever had... in my life!|
|Map of the Ottoman Empire|
When we were through with the museum we decided to go back to our Hostel for a little nap before our dinner excursion. During the day we happened upon a restaurant that offers dinner with a show of Sufi music and Belly dancing for 35 Turkish Lira + the cost of food and drinks. All and all it was very reasonable and every since studying sufism I was dying to see the Whirling Dervishes perform. The Whirling Dervishes are members of the Mevlevi Sufi order (the largest Sufi order in Turkey) and they are known for their spinning dance style. After our little rest we showered, dressed for dinner, and were off. When we arrived I decided it was time to try some Turkish seafood. Ok so it is not so kosher kosher, but it is kosher for Pesach!! I had the most divine shrimp dish followed, of course, by a hot chocolate, and then it was time for the show to start.
|Suze's delicious Beef Shish dish|
|The Turkish Belly Dancer|
|The Whirling Dervishes|
|The Sufi Band|
After the show was done it was time to experience another aspect of Turkish life; HOOKAH BARS!! There was a lovely little place very close to our hostel, a place that became our nightly spot, where we enjoyed peppermint nargila, more hot chocolate, and delicious Turkish delights. I have never tried the native dessert but it turned out to be quite delicious and very satisfying!
|What would become our nightly hot spot!|
|Me with my Turkish delight and hot chocolate|
After the hookah bar there was no question it was time for bed. We had a very full and busy day, and we were both very ready to get a good night sleep. It was really a perfect first day in Turkey and we had the best time orienting ourselves to the city and seeing some of the main attractions. Turkey has to be one of the most aesthetically beautiful, and clean, cities in the world, and it was such a pleasure exploring! It also didn't hurt that they have AMAZING food! Really the only downfall was having no orientation to their language (which is one of the most complicated languages I have every heard!)
Stay tuned tomorrow for posts on days 2 and 3 and then, what is sure to be a very entertaining post about my first experience in an authentic Turkish Hammam!
Lilah Tov Ya Chaverim, this travel day has wiped me out so I must postpone the next posts until tomorrow :-)