01 November 2006

Underground Cistern, Istanbul - Turkey

Hearing: The sound of wind racing around (I'm on the rooftop terrace again)

Today started with a trip to the Underground Cisterns (10YTL) to say hello to the mysterious Medusa heads. Being dark down there didn't help with photo-taking so I've only got a few good ones. The place is huge and there are walkways leading to the Medusa heads with the water and fish running underneath.

The story about the Medusa heads is simply people not knowing why one is upside down and the other is on its side and why they are the only 2 in the whole underground cistern.

The Green column is one of its kind. The man you see is making a wish. The story is that if you stick your thumb in the hole and turn your hand around following the circle as you make a wish it will come true.

There were heaps of fish swimming around, most were small but there were quite a few big ones. How they got in there i cant be sure.

After the underground cisterns i stopped in to say hi to the lovely shop owner Ali Var who i met earlier and have some more of his baklava and tea. I then took a very long walk through the Grand Bizzare towards the University and down towards the Galata bridge crossing the Golden Horn.

As i was walking I came across this old woman lugging this huge box her own size down stair that led to a main road and offered to help. When i got the the bottom she wanted to give me some coins as a tip but when i refused she babbled thanks in Turkish and was really happy. I guess most people would expect a tip of some kind.

Reaching the wharf area i took some photos and you can see both sides with the horn in between in the wide photo. As i reached the other side after crossing the bridge, on my left hand side was a market buzzing with locals out shopping...with a view, not bad at all.

Since i had walked so much i opted for the tram ride back (3.5YTL flat rate) but ended up getting off on the other side and checking out the main train station. There is a little 2 room train museum and of course you can buy train tickets to all sorts of exotic sounding places, i even was tempted to ask how much one to Damascus would cost. It would be fun, i think, to travel through countries like that - watching the scenery and the world go by...

Great now I'm feeling sentimental...ugh its going to make leaving tomorrow more difficult than it already is. I really enjoyed my time here and don't want it to be over so soon. Istanbul and the Turks have a passion and reality about life that is infectious and you cant help but fall in and get swept up in the moment. I will definitely be coming back.


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