Aya Sofia , a turkish bath and a haircut..

Trip Start Feb 23, 2008
Trip End Jun 05, 2008

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Flag of Turkey  ,
Monday, April 7, 2008

This morning I got up early for breakfast on the rooftop -- it was tomato, cucumber, olives and 1/2 a fresh french stick -- amazing -- such a change from India!    
I set off exploring and went to go check out the Baths of Lady Hurem when an old man told me about another place.... I got sucked in and followed him where i had the old carpet demonstration and an apple tea.   I soon got out of there after doing the polite thing when 20m down the road I was accosted again by another shop owner who said he wanted to get to know me and play backgammon and later go for dinner and maybe go back to my hotel after for a nightcap.... WTF!     I soon escaped and made my way to Aya Sofia...   Its a huge church that was built in 537 by an Emperor, later being converted into a mosque in the late 1400's and then declared a museum in the 1900's by Turkey's main man Ataturk..   Inside the church you can see why its so amazing ... the dome is huge!  (if you avoid looking at the scaffolding).   You have to wonder how it was built with no support. 
At one end there is an arrow which Muslims pray towards as its the direction to Mecca.    A sultan built a screened out area so he could come and pray in private and not be seen by anyone. 
Upstairs there are some beautiful old mosaics of Christ, Mary and John the baptist and some others on the wall of the archangels Gabriel and Michael... truly spectacular.    Being upstairs you can also see directly into the downstairs bit -- just so impressive.  
After I had done the rounds I walked the short distance to a famous hammam for an authentic Turkish hammam and what an experience it was..!   I went to one called Cagaloglu and its over 300 years old.. Its just beautiful inside.   I was given a cotton towel to wrap around myself, leaving my undies on but going topless (there is a womens only section).    I was also given these strange wooden shoes to wear so I didn't slip over -- they were like mini platforms shoes and I was walking like a total spaz..!     I was told to rinse off with some water then lay down on the warm marble slab -- i looked up at the ceiling and its a huge dome with all these stars cut out of it... A little while later my lady came back and told me to rinse again then come back and lay on the slab -- all ready for my massage when she told me to take off Everytink... my reply was 'Everything???' and she nodded and repeated everytink!!... so I did.    She soaped me up and massaged all over then i rinsed off and then went and sat down like a kid between her legs where she washed my face and hair... one more rinse off and i was done.!   I put my clogs back on and the lady had to hold my hand so i could walk back to the change room... was hilarious!  I changed and dried my hair then decided to get my eyebrows plucked..  She did one then the other and told me to pick the one i liked the best.... ummm well I guessed the one with less hair because how do you even up the one that has more hair?  
I had more meat for lunch at a small local place that was full of locals then sussed out my new hotel that i am moving too in a couple of days.... I walked down the street to find a hairdresser... One of the waiter boys recognised me and helped me -- directing me to a place upstairs... It was pretty funny -- the girl who cut my hair spoke no English so I had to translate through another guy who spoke about 50 words of English... she cut it waaaay shorter than what I requested but I did like the change!    I headed back to my hotel and wend around the corner to book a tour of Gallipoli... I had a corn cob for dinner then went to bed early as its a 6.15am start tomorrow...  I packed my overnight bag (am keeping this hotel room -- no need to take all my junk with me) -- I am almost at the stage where I need to post some more things home again...
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