Monday, November 7, 2011


So yesterday was a quick morning in Istanbul as I had a flight at 1PM to Kayseri to head to Goreme. As I had not made it inside the Blue Mosque I looked up the hours when it was open to the public (non prayer times - 5/day) and I was good at 9AM. After breakfast I headed out the door to the Mosque and like normal when trying to time entrance into a mosque the info provided was not quite correct. I entered the queue and prayed that "in shalla" it would open in time as I needed to get on the tram about 10:30 to get to the airport. While standing in line I talked to a nice group that was from Houston. It is always fun to run into other Texans. :) I was lucky and the doors opened in time for me to have a look inside the mosque.

The Blue Mosque is very beautiful and solemn, well and as advertised, quite blue. Once again the sheer size of the building is impressive. The columns feel like they are as big as the redwoods in California. There is not a ton to actually see in the blue mosque room wise, but the space that I was allowed in was worth the wait.

After leaving the Mosque I walked a bit and then headed to grab my stuff and head to the airport. The hotel that I am staying at will pick you up and take you to the airport, so for my main arrival and departure from Istanbul I am having them take me but for my trip to Goreme I took the tram and boy is it nice and easy. It is about 45 minutes but it is really interesting to see other parts of the city. I will take a slightly different route back so I can experience a different route as the amount of time is the same.

The airport in Istanbul is split between international and domestic, but Turkish Air had a premium lounge at both (hooray for Star Alliance Gold, and I will miss you). After some confusion I found the lounge (which is in BFE). The very interesting thing about this lounge is that they bus you to the gate directly from the lounge. There is no walking through the rif raf to get on the plane. ;) It was an easy one hour flight to Kayseri followed by an ~1 hour drive to Goreme. I arrive at my hotel and discussed plans with Sedar at the front desk for today's adventures and the he drove me to the Goreme Open Air Museum.

The Open Air Museum is fascinating. It is where early Christians built churches and lived. In this one small space I believe that there were 30 churches and for all their crude simplicity they were beautiful and humbling. The work that was done to carve and decorate these spaces so that they could worship is a testimony to their faith and a wonderful showing of belief. I am glad that I went yesterday as it was something that (as cool as it was, could be fit in an hour).

That evening I walk around town and enjoyed, bought a ceramic piece and went to bed early as I had a 4:30 wake up call for a balloon ride. :)

I have to say that it is a good thing that the hotel is not sound proof as I heard some one going down the stairs over head and thought to myself "what time is it" looked at the clock and it was 4:45. AAARGH, my alarm did not go off even though it was set to do so. I will have o figure that out tonight. Thanks to my loud neighbors I was up I time to take a quick shower before heading out the door for my balloon ride.

I think that this is where I will pick up the blog tomorrow on the plane. Great day today, but tired. Early call tomorrow to get flight back to Istanbul.

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