Into the Watery Depths

The Sunday we were in Istanbul, we decided we would do some shopping in a couple of vintage clothing stores a couple people on our tours had said were amazing.


Ready for shopping!


Had to get a Blue Mosque picture in the bright sunlight!


It was supposedly the “Tulip Festival” in Istanbul, but these tulips in front of the Blue Mosque were the only ones we had seen so far.


We decided we had to see at least one historical site, so we stopped off at this  unassuming building.


This building is where the Basilica Cistern is located, deep underground.


First sight of what we were about to see.


Wow, this place is incredible! And look, there are fish swimming in the water!


It’s like an underwater church.

DSC00095 The Medusa’s Head columns are pictured a little further down.


Weirdly, they had this “look like a Turk” spot set up in the Cistern so you could get your picture taken in costume. How one thing relates to the other, I don’t know! All I could think of was…Head Lice! Body Lice!


These Medusa sculptures make the cistern really special.


Me in the Cistern


This column was different than all the others.




Here’s the first Medusa head, in an eternal yoga headstand.


And the second, with Meredith, to get a perspective on the size.


This is nearby the cistern. So historical, isn’t it?


We decided to check out the place we were meeting for a tour that we had on Monday, so we could see how long it took to get there. The meeting spot is that big palace in the distance. Aren’t these beautiful buildings?


This burger was being advertised all over Istanbul.


It seems that J.K. Rowling has been translated into Turkish!


Having a nap in Taksim square in my red shiny jacket. If you sleep in public, somebody’s going to take your picture!


The first shop we wanted to go to was off a very pretty pedestrian mall on the Asian side of Istanbul. It was hugely crowded with people who were out on a very pleasant, warm Sunday afternoon


Think I had a picture of this place a couple posts back, but it’s just so pretty!



Isn’t this the cutest bookstore you’ve ever seen?


Meredith looking intellectual 🙂


street musician


This guy is selling what are basically round pretzels covered in sesame seeds instead of salt. It’s a national food, with as many vendors in Istanbul as there are Starbucks in the States. They are brought to the carts on a long stick. Our hotel served them for breakfast, but frankly, we didn’t think they were worth the carbs or calories!


We have a few places in Shanghai that sell meat like this. They are made of thin layers of chicken or beef sandwiched between layers of fat. They rotate in front of a hot oven, and as they cook, pieces are sliced off the outside and then served in flatbread. It’s actually quite yummy!


More colorful Turkish Delight


We finally found the first used clothing shop. It was in a basement with a labyrinth of aisles crammed with clothes.


And other old stuff.


It felt like something out of a painting.



It was in this section of fancy dresses that we figured out that a fair amount of the merchandise in the store was for rent, not for sale. Bummer.


I would have loved this doll as a child.


Back out on the street we went in search of food. This guy wanted to be in the picture too.


We settled on this place, because they had yummy, but different things in the window, that we had seen before.


Shredded wheat pastry


I think this was the stuff that we liked the most–shredded wheat in syrup. It’s like the ultimate bowl of breakfast cereal!


This was our lunch. Hehe–on vacation you can just have dessert for lunch!


We found the other vintage store, but it was a bust too. But the walk up and down the street was fun, so it didn’t matter.


To me these guys look like American Indians, but I can’t imagine what they would be doing in Turkey, so they must be something else.


Just saying!


Another mother/daughter picture.

DSC00173 Back across the Bosphorus (we took the subway), with the Blue Mosque in the distance.


And the New Mosque (relatively speaking!) again, which is right across from where we got the tram back to the hotel.


Back in front of the Blue Mosque, the tulips had become a favorite place for people to take pictures (and occasionally pick them!). It turns out that Istanbul only has about 3 square meters of green space for every person, compared to NYC and other cities in Europe which have 20 or more square meters per person. Guess that’s why there were so many people in the tiny park near our hotel and why we really haven’t seen any tulips!


Dinner was street food–some of that “beef on a stick” pictured earlier and roasted corn on the cob, another favorite vendor item.

DSC00182The very impressive graffiti in the courtyard at the back of our hotel.

We ended the day early as we were going on a 14 hour tour the next morning and felt we needed to gather our strength!

IMG_1787One of the flowers currently blooming in Shanghai.


About DECRYPTKNIT: knitter on the loose in Shanghai

Hi, I'm Marisa Newhouse, a former pharmacist (for a brief time during the Reagan administration) who's real calling was probably anything that has to do with cooking, plants, literature and especially knitting; hence my last and favorite job, working at Woolyminded, a wonderful yarn store. But now, I have moved half a world away to Shanghai where my husband will be working. Lots of people are interested in what we will be doing here and I have always kept journals of our travels, so I thought I'd do it the modern way and keep a blog.
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One Response to Into the Watery Depths

  1. Debbie says:

    Loved seeing the pictures of the cistern!! I would so love to see that. The picture of the flower at the end….gorgeous!

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