Chris and I left Europe to go to Asia for lunch today. A simple 20 minute boat ride across the Bosphorus sea on a ferry for $3. When we were en route, admiring the view of old Istanbul, a man approached us with an accent and explained that he was a surgeon on holidays and his destination was the Florence nightingale museum, the original hospital of Constantinople. This is where nurses treated injured soldiers during WW1. It just so happens that my Great Grandmother Minnie was a nurse in Constantinople during the first war sent from Scotland. I am not sure if this is where she served but it was a great reminder of the ties to my family history.
We enjoyed a fabulous Turkish lunch in Katacoy, and loved walking thru the market...fresh olives, fish, dried tomatoes and spices. We returned to the European side and visited the New Mosque, built in the sixteenth century. Beautiful blue tiles and stunning ceilings. We strolled thru the spice market and drooled over Turkish delight and the colourful spices. We followed a winding road up, up, and up and found ourselves in the Grand Bazaar, packed with all sorts of treasures. Carpets, clothing, musical instruments and lanterns. The pottery is so bright and beautiful! If I had another suitcase I would bring it all home!
Our final stop of the day was a Turkish Hammam, built in 536ad. This was a highlight, and I am so glad we went. The Hammam is separated by gender so I bid farewell to Chris, and dressed in a wrap. I was guided into a circular room with a dome, with streams of light shining down. I laid on a huge hot marble slab where others were relaxing, and eventually was scrubbed down by a Turkish woman. Suds galore! The steam was so good for my tired body. After a rinse with bowls of hot water poured over my head, I soaked in a little pool, and sipped on apple tea. Relaxed and delighted, we returned to our flat for a restful evening.
Tomorrow we will see Topkapi palace, enjoy some kebabs, and see some whirling dervishes. Thanks for reading our Turkey Times!