Bird & Sunrise photo

Bird & Sunrise photo
Because "someday" is today!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Driving Like Crazy in Turkey

Hello from Izmir! Finally, a computer where there is not a fee to use it. We are staying at the Hilton, which is lovely and helps the culture shock, but it is in the heart of downtown and driving here is rather difficult.

We flew into Istanbul six hours later than planned because we missed our flight in France, because they had to bus us to the other side of the terminal to get to our flight. It would have been much nicer to have walked on the connecting walkway that was indicated on the map. Apparently, it is no longer in use.
Medusa Head.  Roman cistern underground. Istanbul, Turkey
Medusa Head.  Roman cistern, underground- Istanbul, Turkey
Arriving in Istanbul at eleven p.m. was probably better than at the five p.m. rush, but after taking an hour to rent our car, we were driving around pretty tired and not understanding a thing about the road signage system....if there IS one. It took us two and a half hours before we finally found our Hilton at three thirty a.m. Nerves were a bit frayed. Instead of sight seeing the next day as planned, we slept all day. We chose to stay at Hilton because Jeff had all kinds of free points to use, but it is definitely not our style to deal with the big cities, even when we are home.
Madonna and Child, Ayasophia church- Istanbul, Turkey
Madonna and Child, mosaic.  Ayasophia church

Central Dome.  Ayasophia church, Istanbul Turkey
Central Dome. 

Beautiful Mosaic.
Beautiful Mosaic made with real gold leaf.
We took a taxi to go see the Ayasophia in town the next day. A beautiful church that had been the largest enclosed architectural space in it's day; before St. Peters in Rome was built. The mosaics of the Madonna and Child, and Christ were so delicate, I thought they were paintings. We walked around the Blue Mosque, but didn't make it inside because the long afternoon prayers were in session and we needed to get back to check out of the hotel. Quite powerful to be there with the call to prayer and the faithful going inside to worship.
Ayasophia church
Ayasophia church balcony

I will try to add pictures next time. We saw Gallipoli and Troy yesterday and Ephesus today, believe me, I have pictures!
The entrance to Troy ll city.
The entrance to Troy ll city.

Columns at Ephesus.
Columns at Ephesus.

The library at Ephesus.
The library at Ephesus.

Jeff's Corner: I will never complain about driving in New York again!


Sascha Koehler said...

Traffic or instructions can indeed be a hassle in Istanbul (like in many foreign metropolis). It took me a while to find my way around (and I have a local GPS!).

We usually recommend to use chauffeur-driven vehicles (can be booked during the reservation stage) that make these trips much more pleasant. Yet if you took the car to Izmir and surrounding areas, that would have been more costly than driving yourself ;-)

I hope you enjoy your trip and would be delighted to welcome you back to Hilton Istanbul soon!

Kind regards,

Sascha Koehler
Hotel Manager - Hilton Istanbul

JackieG said...

So glad I checked your blog! Didn't know if you'd have time to blog on your trip. Glad to see and hear about your trip. I'll admit that I'm jealous, it looks so cool! Love the pictures of the mosaics, Ephesus, Troy, ALL of them! Enjoy your travels!

JackieG said...

So glad I checked your blog, didn't know if you have time for it or not. Loved the pictures of mosaics, Troy, Ephesus, loved ALL of them! I'll admit it, I'm jealous! Looking forward to hearing and seeming more of your adventure. Enjoy your travels!

Note to Jeff's corner- When in Turkey, drive like a maniac!