So, it’s the first real day of being Istanbul, as last night didn’t really exist for anything longer than a few minutes. And I’ve not really done much in the way of sightseeing so far. I’d expected to spend the day on a frantic speed around Istanbul trying to soak up as much as humanly possible, and trekking the huge stretch of land that it covers, to to find my way around. Instead, I found myself with four very capable guides whom I’ve really grown to like over the past 24 hours. It’s very different to the hostel experience of Poland, which was quite far more sparse in the way of much company, and instead I spent the day sightseeing with good company, taking a boat ride, eating good food (well, some of it at least), and really just seeing a glimpse of the city.
All four have been here for 3+ days already, and dare I say it, some of the magic has sort of left. Is it the last day blues I was sharing in? Or will I feel the same way about this beautiful and sparse city closer towards the end of the week. It’s not like the travelling ends today for any of them, but at the same time, the feeling of having to get a bus, train, or plane at any point in the near future, especially on the same day will kind of drain a person.
Either way, I can’t help but feel a little bummed that they’ve all left, or are leaving in the morning – as one has commented “you really hooked up with the wrong people for your first day”. I only half agree.
For now, the mosques are impressive and there’s something other-worldly about them which is purely my own fault because I’m so not used to seeing them scattered around one after another like, well, churches.
So, interesting fact of the day on Sultanahmet, because, uhhh, I haven’t posted any yet. Aya Sofya houses the huge brass-clad weeping column. Legends are wide and varied, by all accounts at the hostel so far. There’s a suspicious looking hole in the column … One story has it that some large religious dude pointed out that it didn’t face towards Mecca took hold of the pillar and twisted it around, leaving the mark.Ã‚ Another, and this is one Rough Guides support (any Lonely Planet fans out there should certainly post their own thoughts), St Gregory the Miracle Worker, appeared there, and subsequently the moisture seeping from the column has been believed to cure a number of conditions. Another story again, and here I’m still rather hazy, a tear fell upon the column by another heavy religious-type, and if you place your hand into the hole, and it feels moist – you are said to receive great luck, or heal illnesses, remain healthy, three wishes, etc. All that kind of thing 🙂
Personally, I love that this simple thing has conjured up fantastical legends. And could just be a hole. But, where’s the majesty in that? I have my favourite. You take your own 🙂