The day will come when I will die. So the only matter of consequence before me is what I will do with my allotted time. I can remain on shore, paralyzed with fear, or I can raise my sails and dip and soar in the breeze.--Richard Bode

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Hi from Istanbul

Hi again:

This post has absolutely nothing to do with motorcycles or motorcycle riding, so I don't know how interesting it will be for some of you. I am in Istanbul where I was to meet up with my daughter, Jessica, and son-in-law, Renaud. It took me a hard two days of riding from Cappidocia to get here. Jessica and Renaud arrived at her friend's, Gonca's, apartment after their flight from Paris a mere five minutes before me. Gonca has a lovely apartment in a gated complex. I left my motorcycle in the apartment's lower level garage, and the three of us moved into our own, much less expensive apartment in Istanbul.

Jessica has been to Istanbul many times, and she is our very able tour guide. She certainly knows this city, and her being able to speak some Turkish helps as well.

I told her I had three or four things I really wanted to do here. One is to visit the famous "Blue Mosque".

The "Blue Mosque" certainly stands out among the many mosques in Istanbul. Located on the "Golden Horn" on the European side of Istanbul, it dominates the skyline.

This is Ramadan when all good Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. They get up early in the morning to eat their breakfast well before dawn. A man with a drum, accompanied by a chanter, goes down the streets at 2 a.m. to wake everyone up so that they can eat. It works. He certainly woke me up.

People are really hungry by the time dusk comes around. They sit around in huge numbers waiting for the signal from the mosque that they can eat their evening meal.

Each family or group of friends has a picnic laid out, waiting patiently.

I bet the "Whirling Dervish" is almost ready to drop by the time the signal to eat comes around.

The rules say that if you are traveling, you are exempt. That's us. We can eat! Hooray!

Another place that you really have to see in Istanbul is the huge Sophia Hagia. For a long time it was the largest Christian church in the world. Later it became a Muslim mosque. Now it is a museum.

Inside, you can see both Christian icons, and Muslim symbols.

And, of course, ya gotta go to Topkapi, the original home of the sultans of Istanbul before they built the more modern palace further up the Bosporus.

Tour guide Jessica has had us climbing all over Istanbul. The place turns out to be kind of hilly.

Time to stop for a snapshot. Smile, kitty.

There are wild, but well behaved, cats and dogs all over the place. There are also some fortune telling rabbits if you will only pay their owner a small fee to get them to do it.

We pack a lot into each day. Yesterday we took a boat ride up the Bosporus to the Black Sea. There it is: the Black Sea. Not very impressive is it?

It was dark coming back on the boat. The lights of the city were impressive, but I was more interested in the reflections in the water

It was after midnight (again) when we got back to our apartment. Yawn. We sure pack a lot into a day. We are in a tiny street, but it is easy for me to remember its name (Calli means street).

So, with the full moon over the Blue Mosque, it is time to end another day in Istanbul.

Goodnight.-- I guess I will try to dream about lights along the Bosporus. That'll put you to sleep.