Sunday, 18 April 2010

A week in Istanbul

Sunday again, so today we will have been here for a week. At breakfast a waiter says the dust cloud is due here on Tuesday. The couple I met in reception yesterday have been told that if their flight doesn't take off tonight, they can't rebook until 29th April - that's over a week away! They're considering the train but worried about how they will prepare milk for their youngest child. After breakfast Simon goes to watch the Grand Prix and I check, which has full instructions on how to get back by train. We're also considering trying to find enough like-minded people to rent a coach.

I work for a couple of hours, then we set out towards the Kariye Museum on foot. Our route took us through the textile district, where I bought some more infidel knickers, and round the outside of the Grand Bazaar, which was closed today. We skirted round the side of the university and Suleymaniye Mosque and picked up the Sehzadebasi Cadesi, stopping to admire the Sehzadebasi Mosque and the aqueduct. We crossed Ataturk Boulevard and continued into the bridal district, where we were astonished by the gowns.

Two hours later we arrived at Kariye Museum, which is a 13th century Byzantine church with amazing frescos and mosaics.Like all churches here it has been converted to a mosque in the past, but most of the decoration was left intact. From here we walked up to the city walls and followed them to the tram line, emerging surprisingly at Sophie and Carl's hotel, the Barcelo. Then back to the hotel for a long-awaited conversation with Alex who is home at last.

We met the Walters in the usual place and went for a beer, then to the Turkestan restaurant that Tilly had wanted to go to before. We debate the options for returning home, including driving the 1900 miles. The flying ban in UK has been extended to tomorrow morning at 7am, but some airlines have completed test flights without any problems and are beginning to challenge the need for the ban.

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