Our vacation to Istanbul, Turkey was one of the most unique trips we have taken… for multiple reasons. As soon as B and I stepped off the plane (in Asia) we saw beautiful mosques and their minarets sprinkling the skyline. We retrieved our bags inside, went to the ATM, and found transportation. That’s when the fun began.
Since we were staying on the European side we had scheduled a van to pick us up at the airport and drive us over the Bosphorus bridge, which is a long suspension bridge connecting the two continents. Immediately after we left the airport, we noticed the extreme traffic and mess of cars everywhere. Unfortunately our driver didn’t help the situation by driving 15-20 mph under the speed limit, and other vehicles had to swerve around us the entire time. When we finally entered the European part of the city, the traffic multiplied by ten and pedestrians were now in the mix. Our driver missed his turn three times so he had to circle the downtown area and ended up driving onto a sidewalk, almost taking out a family ordering desserts at a food stand. We thought the worst was over, but then he hit a cement wall (twice), found his way to a dead-end street, and almost backed off of a very high ledge before someone yelled at him. After our near-death experience, the driver got flustered and hit another car, destroying it’s side mirror. As B and I sat in the back, turning pale and feeling ill, we realized that we had been steps away from the hotel the entire time! Even so, our driver would not allow us to leave the vehicle and insisted on getting closer. Eventually we made it to our very nice hotel, took hot showers, and felt a little better after that nightmare fiasco.
When we finally felt comfortable enough to leave our room, we ventured out to find food and immediately noticed the call to prayer. The call to pray happens several times a day and each mosque has their own muezzin who delivers the prayer over loud speakers placed on the minarets. Although a few sounded tone deaf, we found the mish-mash of singing from the surrounding mosques to be relaxing.
The next morning, we had a day-long tour scheduled with a local company we found through Viator. The first stop was the Blue Mosque. Our tour guide instructed us to put our shoes in plastic bags and we made out way into the beautiful, colorful, massive mosque.
Have you ever been to the Blue Mosque?
Filed Under: Travel, Turkey