Between two continents
We landed in Istanbul yesterday and have settled into our hotel here in the Sultanahmet district, which is the heart of the historic old city. There are over 600 mosques in this area alone, with the imposing Blue Mosque being just above us on the hill. The first of the five calls to prayer is just before dawn, and you can’t miss it.
Last night at dinner we got to talking to our waiter whose name was Mahmet and found out he was Kurdish. That of course led an animated conversation about what’s currently playing out on the Turkish border with Syria. He told us that the Kurds really appreciate and respect Americans for what they’ve done to help their situation. After dinner, Mahmet asked us if we wanted to see the ancient roman passages below the buildings in the area. Apparently the restaurant’s cellar was connected to them, so Beth and I went down to check them out and ended up surfacing in the middle of another restaurant on some other block. We didn’t know how to get back to our hotel, so we had to go back through the tunnels.
Today we took a boat trip up the Bosphorus strait, which divides the city and separates Europe from Asia in this region. It was amazing seeing the huge ocean going cargo and container ships heading to and from the Black Sea, not to mention the warships patrolling the waterway.
We don’t have have a busy agenda planned for our stay here, so the most difficult task is going to be determining which restaurant to eat at each night, and Beth totally owns that one.