Sunday, September 12, 2010

Been Away...

This picture, for me, depicts the two sides of Istanbul we saw whilst staying in the city last week.  There is the modern city that has grown up around the Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque. Although these are ancient and beautiful, their impact is subsumed by the noise of busy traffic, clanging of trams and crowds of tourists. Then there is the human side of this beautiful city, traditional Turkish culture, bazaars, music, and the all-important family life.  Food is very important here, as people grow (or fish for!) the freshest of ingredients to incorporate into yet another wonderful dish enjoyed at leisure surrounded by friends and family.  

The city's skyline is truly beautiful, and I could only imagine how overwhelming it must have seemed to visitors a thousand years ago when most of us lived in mud or wooden dwellings.  This view was taken from inside the Hagia Sophia looking out towards the Blue Mosque.

The wonderful Byzantine mosaics - over 1500 years old, and preserved by being covered in plaster when the building was used as a Mosque.

And I'm rather proud of this picture which I took in the old cistern beneath the city - constructed in the sixth century it supplied water to the old city before the Ottoman empire.  There are now walkways so tourists like us can view this huge underground space - more than 300 marble columns and a vaulted roof about 20m high (I'm guessing here but it was amazing!).  The lighting was rather dim so I rested my elderly camera on the handrail for the long exposure, clutching it tightly so that it didn't join the large fish in the water below.

We had a wonderful time - a great way to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary, but soon it was time to return home, to be reunited with our furry friend who spent the week in his favourite kennels ....

And who joined us on a picnic in the warm September sunshine at Mill Bay today.  Lovely to go away, but nice to come back too...!

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