I arrived in Istanbul at 5:15 this morning, after a 12 hour flight from Singapore. Luckily, the plane wasn’t full and I had a whole row to myself and was able to sleep for a few hours. Right at the moment I’m very jet-lagged but I did manage to fit in a half-day tour of some of the sights in the Sultanahmet area of Istanbul where my hotel is located. A small group of three of us, along with our guide Hassan, went to the Blue (Sultanahmet) Mosque, the Hagia Sofia, and the Hippodrome. After an aborted trip to a carpet store where I told the guy I had absolutely no interest in buying anything, and an attempted nap, I made a foray out into town to buy a warm coat and toque. It is freezing here and my old leather jacket was just not cutting it – I got a knee length black sheepskin coat that, hopefully, will keep me warm on my journey through Istanbul. I also visited the Basilica Cistern, a beautiful orange-lit underground watersource with fantastic arches and huge fish, from the Byzantine era.
See pictures here.