Monday, June 18, 2007

Istanbul - What a place!!!

6/18/07 - hey there folks...well, i hit the road tomorrow for the next two months and i am really excited...i start in russia then head to mongolia, china and tibet....should be an amazing trip in oh so many ways :) i am doing the trans-siberian railroad which i have been dying to do...its exciting :) but before i left i wanted to have the blog up-to-date and ready to go....so here is my last travel entry from the year...i got to istanbul, turkey twice in about a month's time and i have to say it was definitely worth it :) they say pictures say a thousand words...and that is definitely true of this set...so many words i just can't repeat too :)

one of the visits was with the watt brothers - greg and dan...greg and i work together at the school in bucharest and dan was visiting brothers around the world...it was fun time...but i definitely in a guy's weekend senario...i am sure you can understand if you have ever hung around brothers or middle school boys....

this is the front entrance of the blue mosque...an amazing building that is still in use for religious purposes....wowowowowow....it is HUGE....women have to cover their heads out of respect and everyone must remove their shoes....its incredible

this is a shot of the blue mosque's ceiling...i could have stared at it all day long...it is simply beautiful...there were quite a few tourists the both times i was there....and there were also folks saying prayer...it was such a weird feeling....you were someplace sacred...yet people were taking pictures and talking....so interesting :)

here's the beautiful blue mosque at night....we had such great weather both times...it was a bit chilly at night...due to being right on the sea...but i loved it....

while there with the brothers we saw a sufi dancer...trance spinner in my opinion...this guy was awesome...he could spin and spin...i guess they do it to reach a state of meditation...i was amazed he didn't get dizzy...i sure would :)

i like this shot better because it is all smeary...and not clear...you can get the feeling of how he is spinning...it was interesting to watch because his one foot never left the ground until he was just about around...and his eyes were open but glazed over...it was way cool :)

the shot above is the one from my window from the second place i stayed...you can see the blue mosque in the distance and you can see a minaret just outside my window...that was wonderful at 5am both mornings when call to prayer occurred...always ask proximity of mosques to where you are staying when in a muslim country....my word of advice :)

the watt's and i smoked a bunch of hookah pipes...or sheesha...whatever you wish...this was the last day and one of the guys who was a waiter at the place we went to most often asked if he could join us...we said sure...he was incredible....soooooooo much smoke...he was a funny guy and very nice....
here's dan putting his shoes back on after being in the blue mosque...don't you love the sign he is in front of...no sitting....hmmmmmmm...its where everyone was...a bit onfusing if you ask me..

one of the greatest things in turkey is the food...especailly the bread...how about the size of this piece...yummy...when they cleared our table we asked jokingly if we could have more bread...holy cow!!!
i love this shot of san sophia...and what an extraordinary building that is....wowowowowowow...
it was a beautiful day when i was there with the watts...but the group i went inside with were the teachers i was at a conference with...and its mind blowing inside...although i think this outside shot with the flowers and palm tree might just be my favorite :)

here's the entrance ceiling of san sophia...this building is incredible because it is both christian and muslim and currently is a museum for both religions...love it :)

check out the size of this marble urn...not sure if its a christian or muslim piece...i just really liked it and was amazed it was made of marble...can you say heavy :)

i guess san sophia is always under repair...its kind of like a dig, where they keep finding new stuff to look at and such...as you can see the walls and ceiling are having work done to them...but can you see the size of the two arabic signs...there are people in the space between them...and they are hanging in the air on the walls of the building....amazing!!!!!

here's one of the christian aspects of the building...i just love it...and its all mosaic...just incredible...they found this under some paint...and there are quite a few of them...just stunning :)
istanbul is definitely known for its shopping...as it has the grand bazaar, which you will see pictures of soon...this was the ceiling of a cool hotel we stopped and visited...the man who owns it knows many of the teachers at AISB!

this is me and another teacher from romania...emanuel....he is romanian, but teaches french...he is quite incredible with languages and is a huge soccer fan and coach...he tells me when he was little he lived only for soccer...we had fun hanging in turkey....

now you are in the grand bazaar...and every where you turn you see the blue eye...which is used to ward off evil...and bring good luck...they are everywhere in turkey....and all over the bazaar

ceramics are also all over the bazaar...i love these little bowls..so much so that i bought a bunch of them...they are great for holding change or candy or spices of whatever...and aren't they colorful...i think they are very cool :)

can you tell i loved the bazaar and the displays people had...these lamps were also all over the place...most of the time they didn't care of you took a picture...but they would complain that wouldn't pay the bills jokingly...in the end i did buy some stuff...but i didn't go crazy :)

here are some more of the ceramics...they are just so colorful and everywhere...i think they make for quite a good picture...the bazaar was very charming and not so hassel oriented as the khan in cairo...so it was a pleasure to go there...the second trip we also went to the spice bazaar...but unfortunately i deleted all of the pictures from that visit...oh well..means i'll have to go back again :)

this shot is sunset over the marmora sea from my first visit with all of the teachers...we were actually staying out on the sea...which was a bit of a bummer...but i got a great sunset out of it...which makes up for some of it :)

i had to make the last shot one of me with tea and a pipe...it was pretty much the focus of the trip with the watt's...but i am wearing my newly purchased hat from the bazaar so there are other apects to my picture that i like....turkey...get there...its just incredible....and i can't wait to return...
okay...as i stated at the beginning of this entry...i am hitting the road for the next seven or so weeks...i will try and update my blog...but no promises....i hope you enjoyed this entry and that you all have a great summer...i'll be in touch :) peace out....

2 comments:

brien said...

good luck and godspeed, dani ... i've ordered all three of my readers to follow your blog and i will be, too ... can't wait

best wishes from south pole and happy, happy solstice!

-brien

Saturn said...

I wish if i can share and invite you to view 3D Models of Blue Mosque here.

Jay