Day 1

Trip Start May 19, 2008
Trip End May 28, 2008

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Somehow sleeping through the 5:25am call to prayer from the mosque 20 feet outside our window, we woke up 15 minutes before breakfast ended at 11.  The food was delicious, a very Israel-like spread of cheese, veggies, yogurt, bread, juice, and coffee.  We ate on the deck on the roof of the hotel, from which we could see dolphins jumping in the Sea of Marmara and huge cargo ships passing by.  During breakfast we snapped a quick picture of the owner and the cook.
Then we headed out into Sultanamet, the old walled city.   We spent a bunch of time in the Hagia Sofia, a giant old church that became an Ottoman Mosque somewhere along the way. It was a really amazing building, though we were two of 3000-some tourists in the building and that took away from the fun a little bit. 
After the mosque, we walked around the area a bit, rested for drinks a little ways back from the main (and hectic!) road, and did a little bit of shopping.  Well, actually, we didn't buy anything and were rather pretty annoyed by the constant sales pitches (one guy even came right up to us and said, "Hello, how can I help you spend your money?"). 
We then rested at the hotel for a bit, then headed out for dinner at a cool restaurant called Deep in the newer, hipper part of town (Taksim).  This area was very busy and very Turkish, and we were so relieved to get away from the overwhelmingly-touristy Sultanamet. 
After dinner, we walked down Istikal Cadessi, the main pedistrian strip with thousands of Turks surrounding us, out for the night.  The only traffic was an old tram, no cars allowed.
After a nice walk, we got to Badahane, a tiny little bar in the Tunel neighborhood (thank you Kim for sending us a link about this place!).  Again, it was very Turkish and included a great music act, which was actually why we came.  They were Turkish gypsies playing a type of music called Fasil with a clarinet, violin, qanun, and dumbek.  This videoclip starts outside where you can't hear the music very well but takes you inside where its too dark to see the musicians (but the music is loud and clear!).  Also, here's a picture of the musicians. One other cool thing about this place was that there were two young guys from California sitting right up front, and both were actually accomplished Fasil violinists which we found out when one of them started playing with the band.   One has been living in the area for a while and has a band called Fasil Amerika that tours the area, and we may go see them Saturday night. 
Then we came back, went out to the deck under the very bright, full moon, and started writing this blog.  It is now 1:37am, so iyi geceler!  (Goodnight!)
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Where I stayed
The Peninsula Hotel, Sultanamet
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lizfeld on

I loved looking at your photos and hearing the story of your first full day - how cool! We miss y ou xoxox Mom/Liz

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