Sultan Hotel Restaurant
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Longest bus trip ever today, 7:30 - 5:30. We had to cross the border between Turkey and Bulgaria which took about an hour but we didn't have to get off the bus this time, a man came on and took all our passports instead. We watched Top Gun and played a pop quiz which filled in a bit of time. When we arrived in Sofia we had a bit of time to settle in before we headed out for a walking tour of the city. The tour went for about 2 hours ...
... our next leg. We wished him well and may well see
him on our way back from Georgia.
I have always been struck by the
differences in countries in Europe when you cross a border, they just
seem, well, different. And it seems that this is the case too in
Eastern Europe. Only a mile or two down the road and Bulgaria looked
and felt very different to Romania. Cleaner, no stray dogs and
better roads were ...
... were recorded in the passport on to the 4th checkpoint!
Finally they were happy and we were through. Immediately it felt like another country. What a difference. There were mosques everywhere and old bridges and so much historical ruins. This city was the old Turkey capital and apparently the most fought over piece of land in history of the world. Right where East meets West. The city is beautiful. We parked up and walked around all the giant mosques. ...
... the outer courtyard was large and impressive. I especially liked the light blue tiles with the Koran verses. There were lots of painted domes and arches to admire as well. Inside was huge – the floor was mostly empty and covered with a huge new rug. The walls were plain but the arches and domes were painted in bright colors or in religious art. The overall effect was airy and full of light.
By the time we left it had started to ...
... including the “old Mosque” completed in 1414, and the “three balcony mosque”. What we hadn’t expected was that the mosques are very much people places, with markets, cafes (and public Wcs!) to be found in the vicinity of each one. We did go into the Selimiye mosque (being careful to take off our shoes) for a look around… a really huge space, with carpet marked out into rectangular prayer spaces facing to the east, of course. There was ...