Nov 062015
 

London

I wasn’t in London long enough for it to actually sink in that I was in London. Nevertheless I was able to at least walk by/through Westminster, Buckingham palace, London eye, Trafalgar square, Churchill war rooms, and the tower bridge. Here are three of my favorite things from London.

Winston Churchill's onesie! From the Churchill war rooms

Winston Churchill’s onesie! From the Churchill war rooms

London fashion. Not strange, just different.

London fashion. Not strange, just different.

 

London tower bridge. Impressive

London tower bridge. Impressive

Ways to save cash

I spent £2.50 on bathroom breaks. You can save money if you hold it. Also buying a day pass for the underground saved a lot.

 


 

Istanbul

Capital of the ottoman empire! AKA Constantinople. Some of these things aren’t unique to Istanbul, but they are novel from a north American’s perspective. The things:

The winding streets

The streets are narrow cobblestone with lots of hills and tight corners. Seemed like all the buildings are between 4 and 8 stories.

Not much winding on this one, but typically very windy

 

Cats

Cats everywhere!  This city belongs to cats. Walking along the water I counted 30 cats over about a 1 km distance. Apparently Mohammad was fond of cats so many Muslim people share his attitude. Residents leave food out for the cats so they are all well fed and healthy.

Park cats

 

Fishing cats

Fishing cats

 

Scavenger cats

Scavenger cats

 

Transit variety

They got subways, trams, trolleys, ferries, buses, funicular. And the second oldest subway in the world. The only thing missing is a monorail.

Roman water infrastructure

30m high acqueducts and water reservoirs. The basilica cistern has oddly placed Medusa heads as part of the columns.

Wandering through the Basilica Cistern

Wandering through the Basilica Cistern

 

Engineer stuff

Engineer stuff

Mosques and Palaces

Istanbul is full of mosques and multiple times per day I’d hear the call to prayer as it was blasted from loudspeakers, sometimes from multiple surrounding mosques.

Of course the grandest mosque of them all was the Hagia Sofia. It was originally built as a church but Sultan Mehmet repurposed it in the fifteenth century as a mosque. Although it’s a humble museum now.

Hagia Sofia

Hagia Sofia

Dolmabahçe Palace is where the Sultan spent most of his time and oh man did he dress up the place. It has the largest chandelier in Europe weighing in at 6 tonnes. It takes 2 months to clean all ten thousand crystals.

Just the entrance

Just the entrance

Ways to save cash

Buying an Istanbul transit card will discount transit 40% which will cover the cost of the card in a day or two.

Prices of nearly everything away from the tourist areas are heavily discounted. I could get freshly squeezed pomegranate juice for $1 or $7 depending on the location.

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  One Response to “LONDON AND ISTANBUL”

  1. Wow! Very exciting and interesting trip. I get to see the rest of the world through your pictures and comments.

     

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