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Süleymaniye Camii // Istanbul

Today’s word of the day was jet lag. Onur and I went to bed around 10:30pm local time and were wide awake at 2:30am and unable to sleep again, so we worked on email and a coding project until breakfast was served at 7am. The hotel serves a very nice kahvaltı (breakfast) which helped fuel our whirlwind day of sightseeing (Mom posted about breakfast and sightseeing here). We were so efficient in our route planning and time management that we saw all the sights in less than 12 hours, so I’m glad we decided to spend only one full day here. 

The most remarkable change I have noticed since my last visit to Istanbul is that there are only a fraction of the tourists there were before. We did start sightseeing early in the day to avoid crowds as much as possible (we take the U.S. State Department travel warnings seriously), but I couldn’t believe how empty all of the attractions were. At one of our first stops the security guards outnumbered visitors about 10:1 and later we observed groups of police patrolling the nearly empty Sultanahmet Square with automatic weapons. Not that I mind, with the January bombing in this square (which killed 10), the obvious presence of security made me feel slightly safer.

Our itinerary for the day included:

Mid-day we all crashed and took a nap, and found it challenging to wake back up. Thankfully our afternoon boat tour allowed us to sit in the shade for an hour and a half and drink çay (tea) while we woke back up.

Photo highlights below.

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Egyptian Spice Market // Istanbul

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Egyptian Spice Market // Istanbul

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Tiled Kiosk Museum // Istanbul Archaeology Museums

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Tiled Kiosk Museum // Istanbul Archaeology Museums

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Blue Mosque // Istanbul

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Blue Mosque // Istanbul

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Hagia Sofia // Istanbul

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Hagia Sofia // Istanbul

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Basilica Cistern // Istanbul

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View from the Bosphorus

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Fishing from the Galata bridge // Istanbul

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Istiklal street in Taksim // Istanbul

Tomorrow we head to the beach!

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