I woke up at 6AM. I couldn’t believe today I had to be at the airport. WHY!??!! I need just one more day to say good-bye properly. As I plotted ways to miss my plane, to figure out a way to wash dishes and afford an apartment, I said my goodbye’s to the lucky remaining students bound for Greece and Italy, and boarded the shuttle to the airport.
Luckily, I had company on the bus to talk to to keep my eyes from wandering off to look out the window at the Bosphorus, Mosques, Palaces, Businesses, and people. I think now in hindsight, I would have teared and went into a mad frenzy in order to be deemed un fit to fly so that I could have another day or two there. :-p
At the airport, I checked my bags. It was official, I was leaving and had no other way out. I hugged our tour guide Deniz, telling her not necessarily goodbye….
We started the day with Turkish breakfast and the gorgeous view for the second time and it was just like the first day. A girl can get used to this. 🙂
Inside the Hagia Sophia
Afterwards, we headed over to the Hagia Sophia where it felt as though thousands of other tourists were just as eager to see the beautiful museum and former church and mosque. The Hagia Sophia is not named after someone, but translates to the Church of Holy Wisdom. The large and beautiful structure we see today is due to Justinian (527-565) trying to out do King Solomon. The structure now stands as a symbol for Greek Orthodox, Catholics, and Muslims. A place for all to share. The Greek Orthodox claim that the dome is carried by angels and that the church/mosque will last for all eternity.
Outside the Hagia Sophia
The museum was a Christian church for 916 years and then converted into a mosque for 481 years. So in a nut shell, gorgeous mosaics and art pieces can be found beneath the converted walls of the mosque. The angels that rest at the top of the what seems to be 1/8 of a mile high dome were covered with feathers. One of the faces is now exposed.
There was a hole in one of the pillars and it is said that if you place your thumb in it and are able to make a full circle with the rotation of your hand, your wish would come true. Am I wrong for not falling for that one? It’s kinda like telling someone to lick their elbow. :-p So many lined up to place their thumb in the holy hole, so I missed out on the picture, but I’ll be sure to add one later if someone else caught it.
After the Hagia Sophia, we went to lunch. Then it was off to the Turkish and Islamic Art Museum. This museum was former home to Solomon (Sulieman) the Magnificent. The museum has a very unique exhibit on the history of textiles (dying and weaving).
Dying fabrics with organic materials - Turkish Cultural exhibitSolomon the Magnificent's door
It was a great stop before swinging into a current fabric distrubutor and meeting with the founder and owners daughter to learn about modern patterns and textures. The fashion majors quickly jumped in the mounds of handmade silks and purchased samples. The MBA’s were more intrigued by the distribution of the fabric within the US as well as any discounts on purchasing directly. :-p
Woodbury Fashion Majors in awe of textiles
After this final stop, we headed back to the hotel. I was supposed to nap, but couldn’t find rest. Could it have been the call to prayer at 8pm that made me fear sleep. The call to prayer is a song that occurs 5 times throughout the day. Since our arrival in Istanbul, I’ve enjoyed hearing the voice float over the city. But at 8pm this evening, the singer would most definitely need some lessons. I kid, it wasn’t him that kept me up, but the jetlag.
Around 11pm, I went out for a late bite even though my stomach was upset by the Indian flavored styled spaghetti 😦 An old Turkish man saw me gesture that my stomach was upsetand walked over to me and placed his hands on my face and stroked my forehead with his thumbs, he said something and then placed his forehead against mine and then made a gesture to imply that I would be better. After he left, I did feel better… Maybe it was from the fear of not feeling better :-p Seriously, I believe it was a prayer. This definitely shows the kindness of strangers in Turkey.
Afterwards, we headed back to the hotel. Tomorrow was a 4AM wake-up call, we would be heading out for Capadocia. I didn’t find sleep, but I would a new city….