Jamie and I started our day today after breakfast walking past the remains (very very little) of the old hippodrome. There is an ancient Egyptian obelisk there and they are restoring it as well as making a replica. All of this is next to the Blue Mosque, so it is nice that you walk by it every time as well as the Hagia Sophia.
Our next stop was to the Topkapi Palace, the sultan's palace of the Ottoman Empire. It was a typical palace complete with all of the fine architecture, furnishings, tile work, mother of pearl, and gold. Of particular interest was an area where they supposedly had all the spoils of war, notably Moses's staff, King David's sword, Abraham's saucepan, and Joseph's turbin. A harem was a completely different section, but we decided not to go in there, especially after I figured out that there were not any women in there any more.
It was colder today and overcast all day, so our next stop was the Istanbul Archeological Museum. Artifacts from 5000 years ago have been restored and placed in the museum. Artifacts from all of the empires, plus Troy and thousands of Roman artifacts are there. It was pretty overwhelming and we ended up staying almost 2 hours just trying to wind our way through.
We ate a kebab plate outside the palace for lunch and decided to relax for the afternoon. We booked an evening show of the Whirling Dervishes and napped most of the afternoon.
Our Whirling Dervishes show was interesting. You have probably seen the pictures of them and we were able to see a performance. It is a very spiritual performance, complete silence is observed with the exception of the instrumental accompaniment, and photographs are forbidden. This performance was performed by men who practice Sufi Islam. I'll let you look up Whirling Dervishes, Sufi Islam, and Mevlevi Sema if you so choose. It was interesting, but not what we expected.
We found a nice little Irish pub for dinner and ordered some fried stuff while I was able to watch the Phillies and Astros play. We headed back for the night after stopping to take some night pictures of the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. Our hostel had a belly dance performing when we got there, so that was a nice treat (for me).
All for now. We haven't decided our itinerary for tomorrow, but we do fly to Izmir tomorrow night.