Day 25 – Istanbul

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….

Somehow, I know I’ll be back…

Day 6 – Konya

Underground City, Cappadocia

Underground City, Cappadocia

Konya was only a couple hours a way.  En Route, we stopped at the Underground City, the Sultanhanni Caravanserai, and the Alaettin Mosque.   The Underground City is exactly what it is as described.  Linked caverns where people lived for months at a time. There were kitchens, sleeping chamberns, and a church.  Even ancient plumbing and well systems!   

Well within the Underground City

The Sultanhanni Caravanserai is the largest and one of the oldest car\vanserai’s in Turkey.  The great room in the back of the caravanserai still carries the smell of animals.  If the door was closed, we’d feel as if we were instantly placed in 1911… and we’d be blind because the windows, while there, were really high up and small. 

Sultanhani Caravanserai

Years ago, they were carved out for defense purposes more so than lighting purposes.  The windows built in a fashion as most where someone from the inside could fit in to chuck arrows out, but someone from the outside would have to be a baby to fit in from the outside.  Maybe babies were the arrow of choice…

Window within the Sultanhani Caravanserai

After, we were off to the Alaeetin Mosque.  The Mosque featured beautiful tile work in it’s dome in the mehrab.  Unfortunately, the tile itself was damaged over time and painted motif of what it would have was put in place.  The tile must have been beautiful as the paint was awe inspiring.  This mosque was used by the Sultans and their tombs are found in the outside courtyard.

Inside the Alaaetin Mosque

It had been a long day and we were ready to settle into the Rumi Hotel.  Even if only for a second, to see what the city of Konya had to offer.  But, I didn’t walk around too much in Konya.  The city was ultra conservative and had more of the vibe of serious everyday working people.  In other words, the kind of people that are annoyed by the presence of herds of tourist walking around  looking up and looking for answers from God.   

I headed back to the hotel and rested a little.  We’d be going back out to see Sema, the Sufi ceremony, better known as the Whirling Dervishes. 

Whirling Dervishes

 

The Dervishes aren’t a ballet troupe, but a group of followers of Rumi that will sometimes allow people to watch how they pray and get connected with God.  It feels like ballet because it is a synchronized and elegant display. 

Afterwards, it had been a 14 hour day so we had to call it quits.  Tomorrow we’d go to Rumi’s Tomb and a couple more museums.