Tonight, at midnight of 21st May my parents and I will be departing to Turkey; which mean…I will be celebrating my birthday on the airplane! Wohoo ~~ Imagined me sitting on that not-so-cozy chair, squeezing between two people on my left and right side, my eyes already half closed that I will be falling asleep in no time and suddenly…… “Happy Birthday to you2x~ Happy Birthday to Ifa…” All those passengers are singing together a birthday song to me in synchronize and then; the air steward and stewardess come to me with a big cake on their hand; covered with candles glowing brightly ready to be blown by me of course but wait! No smoking allowed on the airplane which mean…. I’m just dreaming. 0_o
So, after much sleeping, watching some movies as well as performing morning routine and Subuh prayer; the airplane finally touches down at Istanbul airport. The stairs are opened and passengers started to walk down the stairs with most of Malaysian holding mobile phone ready to take picture of the surrounding. I, on the other hand, have difficulties to reach for my phone in my handbag due to the stuffs that I carry. Oh well.
Since we are under Andalusia tour package; our first tour started with Hippodrome instead of heading to the hotel first for a quick shower. Thank God it is spring in Turkey hence; my body odor can still hold on its bad smell until we check in later. Pheww~
At first, I really have no clue on why we need to go to this kind of place. What appear in front of me is only a few fragments of survived racing track which more looks like a pointy pillar to me. Hehe. So, what’s so special about it? The story behind Hippodrome makes it such a bizarre place to go to actually. *nodding* Hippodrome used to be the place of horse and chariot racing during Ottoman era which mean that grey tall thing are over thousand years old and they are the only thing that have left until now! I could imagine horses competing with each other, galloping as hard as they could to pass all the tracks one by one, crowds standing by the side cheering for their favorite… and the rest of it is for you to imagine it on your own.
picture on the upper left corner credited to Google
Our next destination is Blue Mosque which is located just beside Hippodrome. The side of the mosque where lies the entrance is; crowded with long queue of tourists from around the world and Malaysia are part of it. I am a little bit shocked and truthfully a bit disappointed with that much crowds because it feels like I’m not in Turkey at all and do I have to keep squeezing with everyone merely to enjoy the beauty of Turkey? L. I try to be positive and after contemplating about it in my mind, I guess it is the best way to present Islamic culture to non-muslim. What’s not to be happy about it? J For your information, Blue Mosque is the first imperial mosque to be built under Sultan Mehmet I ruling. So why is it called blue mosque if the mosque does not show any signs of “feeling blue”? :p It is actually blue (blue tiles) on the inside.
Topkapi palace is the next location which situated the opposite of Blue Mosque. Sounds like an artistic ancient-architecture neighborhood area to me. Besides, it seems like Sultan Mehmet (during his ruling) loves to go mosque which is only situated in front of the palace. A person that should be set as a role model after Rasulullah s.a.w. May Allah bless him. As much crowded it has at Blue Mosque, it goes the same at this palace. Tourists are seen everywhere. On your left. On your right. In front of you. Behind you. 0_0 And don’t forget in your picture as well! What?! Despite the crazy crowd, I have a good time enjoying the beautiful embellishment and architecture of the palace. A lot of checkpoint to go to yet time is very limited. We were only given 1 hour to tour around the palace on our own.
Among the checkpoint, one of it has a looong……queue. My family and I have no clue what’s been holding all these tourists to wait and line up this far; so we decided to visit the rest of the checkpoint where there is much less people. Later on (too late for us), we find out that tourists from around the world were queuing for the Sacred Relics which hold the collection of the swords, bow, cloak, hairs from his beard and footprint of Rasulullah s.a.w. One of the first manuscripts of the Quran is also on display. I am heartbroken to hear the news but there’s nothing I could do unless a miracle happen [yes it is. It happen on day 7].
Feeling exhausted and hungry, we have our lunch in a restaurant by the name of Sur Balik. It sounds like ‘suruh aku balik’? Haha. Anyway, lunch menu is not that bad although the taste of the rice is quite weird to all of us. It is sort of like ‘nasi dagang’ but nasi dagang is nicer. The menu is quite dry since there is no gravy accompanied the rice and I can see that my Malaysian friends keep asking for ketchup sauce from the waiter. So, if you think you are true Malaysian who can’t live without gravy, you know what you should bring. :D
On our way to the bus after filling our stomach with that weirdo-rice, there is another restaurant by the name of Bodos Balik. Did they mean that if we eat their food, we will become ‘bodoh balik’? Seriously? :p Another restaurants on the other hand which settled next to Bodos Balik; have captured my eyes due the arrangement of Turkish-patterned furniture in outdoor setting. There is also a garden nearby with fragments of old buildings projected from the gate barrier. I would love to go there yet; it’s not in the tentative program. Sob sob.
We finally check in at Tiara Thermal hotel, Bursa in the late evening. [read in Turkey - Day 2 for review]
Till next entry,