With another rotation under my belt, it was time to have a well-deserved technical stopover in Istanbul. My new traveling companion and I spent a couple of weeks hatching an itinerary. What follows are a few words, photos, insights, and links to places we enjoyed.

I departed on Sunday from Tivat, Montenegro. Tivat has been eye-opening and I will get back to my toe dipping in the Baltics but for the moment you can just enjoy a photo of my plane.

Istanbul has a population of 15 million plus or minus a few hundred thousand. The airport is very efficient, so efficient that I can not remember collecting my bags directly from a baggage carousel after passing customs in a long time. The airport transfer area at entrance 14, had a multitude of companies shepherding tourists to accommodation.

Our Hotel was a boutique offering. Ecole St. Piere

Ecole St. Pierre Hotel, was restored from an old French school of the 19 th century.The walls inside the building are from the Genoese Empire back 1000 years.Restoring the project with keeping the rich history and enhancing it with modern architecture Ecole St. Pierre is providing a multicultural experience.The ultimate hotel for those seeking to be fully present in the moment and breathing the 13th century at the same time.

Lifted from the link. Now it has to be noted that neither I nor my travelling companion decided to setup shop in a former Genova market colony from a thousand years ago. Lets just say my time in Italia has left an indelible mark.

The hotel was really lovely, they looked after us impeccably well. They had an Italian restaurant and the room service was superb.

The next day after a leisurely breakfast we caught an Uber to Hagia Sophia and the blue Mosque. Uber works in Istanbul and is a little less overwhelming than trying your luck with the numerous taxi companies. We had a really nice day and although I have temple fatigue and church rot from my many years of travelling. Mosques are still fresh to me and these two are really something.

Hagia Sophia

Blue Mosque from inside Hagia Sophia.

After a well-deserved meal. We both had separate bookings at Kılıç Ali Paşa Hamamı

The Kılıç Ali Paşa Hamamı was built by the great Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan between 1578 and 1580. Commissioned by Kılıç Ali Pasha, hailed as the “conqueror of the seas,” the bathhouse was built to serve the mariners of Tophane, Istanbul’s seafront district. This freestanding structure is a rare example of a bathhouse whose entire exterior can be seen in full. Its magnificent main dome, which is 14 meters wide and 17 meters high, is the second-largest dome gracing a hammam in Istanbul.

Lifted from link above.

Now whilst it is possible to get a traditional couples hammam treatment if you want the real deal and to feel like royalty this is as good as it gets. After changing into a towel you are doused with water from a bucket and then put on a heated marble pad and warm up before your attendant scrubs you, massages you covers you in foam, and repeats until you are glowing all over. I had a massage booked after my hamamm and this might have been overkill given the amount of massage you get during the normal treatment but it was well deserved and received.

It is here I should talk about cats and dogs. Cats and Dogs have a special place in Istanbul. They have free reign of the city. Houses are made in public spaces for dogs and Cats frequently live in shops. There was a cat by the cash register at the Cafe where I wrote this. Needless to say he got a tip.

Some would say Italia is still coasting on the largess the Roman Empire built during its reign. It is well deserved. Istanbul was the eastern Rome under Emperor Constantinople. Like most self-respecting males I think about the Roman Empire daily. So it was off to Basillica Cistern we delved the next day. A cavernous structure it stored water for the Palace and surrounding areas. Istanbul although strategically important had no natural water for its inhabitants. Water flowed via aqueduct from the Belgrade forest 19 kilometers away.

It is here I must pause my writing. I promised myself I would get something up before I started my trip home, and that begins soon enough. I still have a few more things to say including our trips to the Bazaars and dining recommendations. I do believe that is a hook.

Thank you Silvi for the more expert photos found in my post :-). Tune in next time for the follow-up.

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