After another long day of traveling we finally arrived at out little hotel, right in the heart of the Sultanahmet district of Istanbul, 2 minutes walk from the important sites – the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and the Topkapi Palace among them. We are in the thick of a jumble of tiny streets that seem to head in all different directions with no apparent logic, lined by tiny shops, cafes and small hotels, and thronged with people – locals and tourists of all nationalities. Our room is “cosy” but comfortable, but the location is just perfect.
Getting here was an adventure in itself. After collapsing into bed at 3.00am we were up again at 6.30 for breakafast and our ride back to Dubai airport. We were there with time to spare and whiled away an hour in the Emirates lounge, which was very luxurious. The flight was about 4 hours and thankfully uneventful. I was rather nervous about our luggage – we checked it in Sydney, and they were meant to keep it overnight in Dubai and put it on our flight for us to collect in Istanbul, So many opportunities for error! But thankfully it did arrive, though I think ours were the last off the plane. We caught a shuttle to the hotel. I think we overpaid, but I’m very glad we weren’t driving in that chaotic traffic, and navigating the tiny winding hilly lanes as we got closer to the hotel.
By the time we got to our room in the Hotel, it was 5pm. A long day on the “road”. The whole journey from door to door was almost exactly 36 hours!! Luckily, it was worth it!
After little rest, we set off on foot to explore, and discovered how close we were to the Blue Mosque. Avoiding the touts (“Would you like to buy a guidebook? No? How about a carpet then?”) we took off our shoes, and I covered my head and we entered the mosque. It is called the Blue Mosque because of the extensive use of blue tiles on the walls, and it is a stunningly beautiful interior.
We ate dinner at a little cafe within sight of the mosque and enjoyed people watching and excellent turkish food. After such a long couple of days it was great to sit and soak up the atmosphere.