A bit of old Instanbul

The Blue Mosque courtyard

I've been excited to actually explore the old city of Istanbul ever since we blurred through it on the tram ride from the airport to the hotel. After two days of local eats and walking, we ventured back across the Haliç inlet to the Bosphorous where the old city sits.

Two epic edifices of history had our attention: the Hagia Sofia and the Blue Mosque. The blue mosque is epic and in use as a place of worship, which to me made the whole experience a bit awkward. Like touring someone's house while they're eating and I'm not there to eat. Unlike my visit to Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, I felt little spirituality and almost zero awe. While the construction itself is something to be marveled, I found that I couldn't really invest myself given the atmosphere. To sum it up: meh.

Two ladies in Hagia Sofia

Hagia Sofia was radically different; being about to explore so much of the grounds, stare in awe at is construction, life span and size in an atmosphere specifically designed to allow the visitor to do so made all the difference. The stonework in places was marvelous and the internal size of the structure is a stunning example of what could be accomplished with ambition, science-oriented minds, and deep pockets. Unlike some other churches I've been in, I appreciated the overall lack of bling. I stood in awe of the structure for what it was and what it now is.

Sadly, my photography prowess (read: lack thereof) and the challenging lighting throughout the space made for only a few pictures worth sharing of the multitude snapped.

Despite my overall lack inspiration by the Blue Mosque, I will say that my favorite part of the day was walking out of Hagia Sofia during the adhān Islamic call to prayer (called the ezan here in Turkey). This satisfied many of my preconceived notions of what it would be like to visit this city: epic architecture, old meets new, the bustle of urban life met with old-world traditions. All in all, on point.

My day ends with tired feet and saturated senses. The trio of mio all fixated on Google Fit today. We walked about 5 miles/8km and Tori clocked more than 18,000 steps to my mere 12,000; short legs.

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