On Friday morning we began with breakfast in the hotel. There were spectacular figs and everyone made a bee-line for them. There were fresh dates, wonderful yoghurt, all kinds of stringy fresh cheeses and the usual array of breakfast goodies. Who knew that baklava for breakfast was so good? (Well, we knew.).
We had a presentation in the morning with Judy, our tour leader. Then out the door around the corner to the Hippodrome, where we had done our first walkabout yesterday. Many of us were taken by the Ottoman architecture on the way, especially the wooden houses.
Our first stop,was the Basilica Cistern, a vast space only discovered a hundred years ago, designed for water storage. One of the joys of being on a tour is that tickets are all purchased for you, and all you have to do is enjoy it.
I am taken with the variety of small fences surrounding the public gardens. These have a tulip motif, as this is where the tulip originated.
It was so interesting. Amazing to see large fish swimming in the clear water, among all the columns. Those columns were all recycled as building materials, so they are all kinds of shapes and have different capitals. The two medusa stones, one on her side, one upside down, are mysterious, but may just have been used to prop up the columns with no other significance.
One of the most interesting sights there was three fairly senior ladies dressing up in glitter and veils for their photograph. They were obviously enjoying their dress ups and I wish I could have photographed them.
The Hippodrome area was next, where we had walked around yesterday. This is a vast space with a central spine containing several columns, including the Spartan snake column.
There are very many stray cats and some stray dogs. However the dogs are obviously monitored with tags in their ears. They are in reasonable condition.
The German Fountain also graces the Hippodrome, and it is beautifully decorated. This is one of the many ornate domes in this city.
We wended our way around the back of the hippodrome towards the Mosaic Museum. This took us through a lovely market, where I espied a cabinet filled with oya. This is a particular interest, being a form of Turkish lace. It may be crocheted, or tatted, or made with a needle. It talks the form usually of floral motifs, and is used as an edging. Most often the edging is on a scarf, but later in our trip at one of the museums we saw some robes that had their font edges, hems, and sleeves festooned with the most wonderful variety. The cabinet I saw had some nice things, and it didn't tak much persuading for me to buy one piece. It is a scarf of brightly dyed stretchy material edged with a floral motif.
The Mosaic Museum was stunning. Such fine delicate work, with tiny tesserae and wonderful detail. It must have been glorious in its day, so opulent.
Having just bough a push lawnmower for our new home, I was convinced that this must have been an early version, but others tell me that it is boys playing with chariot wheels. I still think it is a push lawnmower.
The day is not done but I think this lot has to be published before the wifi keels over.