Arriving to the hustle and bustle of a large City like Istanbul from the a sleepy town near the Turquoise coast of Turkey definitely wakes you up! I had a private shuttle arranged to pick us up at the Airport for a 90-minute transfer from the Sabiha Gökçen Airport to our hotel centrally located in Old City Istanbul. After checking in, the first and only thing on the itinerary for that day was to go to the Blue Mosque. There are small windows of opportunity when you can go inside (in between the calls to prayers, but you have to wait until 90 minutes past each call to prayer and there are five of them). We followed a tram line (literally at times running within inches of your body) about fifteen minutes and this was our first view!
Backing up to our arrival in Istanbul. Our hotel, “Eurostars Hotel Old City” was perfect. It was within walking distance of all of the major sites and tucked up a side street so it was nice to sit outside at one of the outdoor cafe tables, have a drink and people watch. I’ve stayed at a Eurostars somewhere else in Europe and had a good experience there also.
Here’s the view looking out from the lobby. Whenever I would pet that cat he would be nice at first and then try to bite me. Bad Kitty!
The seating areas were quite opulent in the hotel.
On Facebook I was assured by a man (and I was armed with his name) that because I was bringing a group of people who didn’t know each other, except for a couple that were sharing a room, that single beds were essential. Upon arrival, the desk clerk said he only had one bed for one of the rooms (other than the couples’ room), I told him that wasn’t acceptable, and finally he gave me an upgraded 3 person room for myself and another lady.
Here we are the Blue Mosque, putting our shoes in a plastic bag they provide, and the women are covering their hair with scarves…
Once inside the sheer size of it is awe-inspiring! The gold tiles shimmered and the room glowed with white light and multi-colored light streamed in through the gorgeous stained glass windows filling every space!
This is a light fixture that I took a photo of looking up at the ceiling…
If you weren’t a practicing Muslim there to pray, they required you to stay on the sides…
It was a great start to our four days in one of the world’s greatest Cities!