MONDAY, MAY 11, 2009 – 123/22 – ISTANBUL
Dick is up early. His knee seems to be much better but he finds he has hurt his right shoulder. That was the second thing to hit the pavement in his fall yesterday. It is not too bad but is uncomfortable. He works on this blog, downloads pictures from yesterday and contemplates looking for coffee, as Carolyn is dead to the world.
About 9:00AM, we are both ready to start the day. After some discussion on the astronomical price for the hotel breakfast, we go for it anyway. It is fresh and hot and to our taste so, since it is the biggest meal we eat when traveling like this, it is marginally worth it; maybe.
Dick is not up to some of the things we had talked about for today, and Carolyn is always ready to shop so we head back over to the Grand Bazaar.Carolyn had three things she was looking to replace that were stolen in a home break-in several years ago. So today, she is looking for a harem ring and some byzantine earrings. Because of Dick’s fall, we take a cab to the Bazaar for ₤5. We recognize some of the walkways and go deeper into the maze, checking out one store after another and getting prices from some. The prices are high today and no one seems willing to get reasonable.
About the tenth store, we find one that has all the items Carolyn is pricing so she settles into negotiating what they will actually cost. Dick sits patiently for about 30 minutes. Then he cannot stand it anymore and he gives Carolyn cab fare back to the hotel plus spending money and leaves. Another 30 minutes and one trip to the door later, Carolyn gets the store owner down to a price he will not reduce further. It is a reasonable price for what she is looking at so the sale is made! This is really not that much fun…we would probably spend more money if they would just put their best price on the items. Carolyn wanders around for another hour looking. The haggling has lost its allure so she only buys a Turkish linen towel, to use as a wrap at the villa’s swimming pool, for ₤15. After two tries for a cab, she agrees to ₤10 for the ride back to the hotel. The cabbies do not like to do short trips. She knows she is over paying so there is no tip.
Dick is waiting and we go for a late lunch in the area. It is 2:30PM and our room is still not made up! We call for service before we leave. Dick leaves Carolyn again at a nearby shop to purchase some items she saw the first morning. Dick is not feeling to good and goes back to the room for a nap.
Carolyn gets back at 4:30 PM and we look into dinner options for later. The tech also comes to the room to try to get the computer connected so we can check email and post. At 5:00, we decide to have a cocktail and walk over to the Blue Mosque before we go to dinner. Guess what, there is no ice and no glasses. They were not replaced from yesterday! After check in, we have had very poor service for this to be a Four Seasons hotel. Therefore, Carolyn calls and complains…after two trips room, service gets both fresh ice and glasses to the room and we have our drinks and head out.
We walk past Hagia Sophia and on to explore the Blue Mosque.They face each other at oposite ends of a pretty little park. The Blue Mosque is an active mosque so we must remove our shoes before entering. Amazingly, there is no fee for entrance! Next, we walk through the hippodrome area and look at the old obelisks and columns.One is from Egypt and dates back to 1,500BC.
We end the day at a roof top restaurant across the street from the hotel where we enjoy a beautiful sunset and take pictures of the Haghia Sophia and the Blue Mosque from a new angle. They are well lit and the evening sky adds to their beauty.