Saturday, June 02, 2007

A SNOW STORM IN ISTANBUL!

IT SEEMS IT DOESN'T HAPPEN VERY OFTEN... - FEBRUARY 2005

On Saturday, after The Topkapi, Hagia Sofia and Blue Mosque, we took a taxi to Taksim, to the Ceylan Intercontinental Hotel. We entered the Hotel through a door with a metal detector device, like in airports, took the elevator to the top floor and sat at the lounge bar with a splendid view, some drinks, nuts and cheesecake... The rain and fog, however, didn't help!
When the weather cleared a bit, we walked Istiklal Caddesi, the pedestrian street of Beyoglu. Looked at the Church of Saint Anthony (of Lisbon, where he was born, not of Padua as usually said), visited the famous Pera Palas Hotel (home to Agatha Christie and other travellers from the Orient Express) and amazingly heard this Portuguese music from Madredeus, with the voice of Teresa Salgueiro, in one of the shops that sell audio cd's:



After this incredible experience, we took the Tunnel Metro and arrived closed to Galata Bridge, where we took a taxi to the Hotel. It was starting the snow storm, so we stayed inside. On Friday night we had enjoyed dinner at the Restaurant Rami, a house dedicated to the painter Rami Uluer, with a very nice view towards the Blue Mosque, but on Saturday night it was completely out of the question to be outside...

On Sunday morning, Guida was feeling sick, and had some fever. The snow storm was stronger then ever, and so we stayed inside. In the afternoon, when the snow stopped for a while, we hired a taxi with chains (the only one we would ever find during the days the storm lasted) and decided to visit the Chora Church. Fantastic mosaics and frescoes!

On the way back we had a chance to visit Suleiman's Mosque, and then back to the hotel again. Regrettably, I've no photos of this expedition, only video...


"SNOW - Finally, on Monday morning, Guida was feeling better, schools were closed, snow was falling hard but we managed to catch a cab and went to the Grand Bazaar!"



"GRAND BAZAAR - It was so difficult to get there that it looked incredibly empty and one could easily stroll around. It's said it has four thousand shops; probably an overstatement..."


"SPICE BAZAAR or Egyptian Bazaar is the second largest Bazaar in Istanbul, after the Grand. It is so known due to the spices that were and still are sold here. But one can also find Iranian or Russian caviar... We didn't buy, but we had lunch at a very nice old Istanbul restaurant on the small tiled rooms above the main entrance of the Bazaar - The Pandeli. Mixed feelings about the food: the fish en papillote (Kagitta Levreck) was OK, but the rest was far from outstanding...
After lunch the snow continued to fall and we visited the Rüstem Pasha Mosque, a mosque with beautiful Iznik tiles, as well as the New Mosque, and finally the Yerebatan Saray Cistern"





"SUNKEN PALACE - The underground Yerebatan Saray Cistern (or Basilica Cistern) is thought to have been built in 532 AD. After the conquest of the city by the Ottomans, it was forgotten of and nobody knew that it existed. Re-discovered in 1545, it was used to water the gardens of Topkapi Palace. It's a highly impressive spot, worth to be visited, even if you blur some of your pictures...
After the Cistern we took a taxi back to the Hotel, as the snow was always falling. For the third consecutive night we had dinner at the Hotel restaurant. It was the only time in my life I had three consecutive dinner meals at the restaurant of the Hotel without having a half-board reservation..."


"MORE SNOW - Tuesday morning (Mardi Gras), surprise: we caught some more snow!!! It never ended... The Blue Mosque, seen from the Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum, looks white"






"THE RESTORED PALACE OF IBRAHIM PASHA is now home to the Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum. The Museum is superb and provided a safe harbour against the storm outside"



"HYPPODROME - The Byzantine Hippodrome was the heart of Constantinople's political and sporting life. It's now an interesting city park in the centre of the Sultanahmet district. Several monuments can be found there, including the 3500-year-old Egyptian Obelisk of Theodosius, brought to Constantinople by Emperor Theodosius in 390 AD"


"WHITE BLUE MOSQUE - Sometimes the snow stopped for a while and we managed to walk a bit. This was the case..."


"AYASOFIA in the snow"


"THE ARASTA BAZAAR is located behind the Blue Mosque, just next to the entrance of the Mosaics Museum (that we also visited. No wonder with such weather outside, we were always inside). There are about 40 shops lined on both sides of the street, selling traditional items. Originally this place was built in the 17th century and used to be stables during the Ottoman period.
After the Mosaics Museum we took a cab and went to Beyoglu to have lunch at the Restaurant Haci Baba at Istiklal Caddesi"



"GALATA TOWER - The Tower has dominated the Beyoglu skyline since 1348 (it may be seen in Oya's post on The Great Istanbul) and offers the best panoramic views of the city. It's said that the sunset view from Galata Tower is fabulous. Imagine..."


"SIRKECI STATION - Another cab ride, and we were at the station where the Orient Express ended its run from Paris to Stamboul (like the 19th century travellers named the city). The Orient Express, started in 1883, provided the fastest as well as most luxurious way to travel across Europe. The Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits -- brainchild of a young Belgian named George Nagelmackers - managed not only the Orient Express but also a number of other lines that would become just as legendary, including the Sud-Express (Paris-Lisbon), the Calais-Mediterranean Express, better known as the Train Bleu, that connected Britain with the Riviera, the Golden Arrow between London and Paris, and the Trans-Siberian Express (Moscow-Vladivostok). The Sirkeci station is a very nice building worth the visit even if you're not interested in taking a train...
We took a tram up the hill to Sultanahmet, visited Cagaloglu Baths, and went back to the Hotel"



"HOT INSIDE - Mardi Gras, Chinese New Year justified an extra, so dinner was at the Orient House!
Next morning, it snowed. Saw the Mehmet Pasha Mosque with beautiful tiles, grabbed some lunch and headed to the airport. The plane was late due to the snow storm. Fortunately for our Frankfurt connection, the crew that brought us from Istanbul was the same that should bring us to Lisbon, so the plane was not missed, though the arrival was around 2:00 a.m., more than two hours delay, and without our bags...
One day I'll have to go back and see Istanbul properly"

36 comments:

Di said...

Hmm, acho que conheço este "taliban" de algum lado..

Sigma said...

Ooooohhhh [brrrrrr]
And Aaaah ;-)

trotter said...

Sigma, just wait to see the rest when I update this post...

lv2scpbk said...

Looks too cold. Brrrr.. It is spring here and I'd rather have that than snow. I noticed someone was building a snowman. Nice photos of places you were at.

Thanks for visiting my blog and your comment on the cars and the fancy lady dresses.

lv2scpbk said...

May I make a suggestion for your blog to break down the posts a little. I'd love to comment more on photos individually or if you post maybe 3-4 photos on one entry. You could do them all just smaller posts per entry. Hope you know what I'm talking about. You posts so many on each one that I forget what all I want to comment on and you'd get more feedback. Just a suggestion. I thought I'd put it out there to you. Thanks and I love looking at your photos.

One more question, Are you listed on the portal? If not, I will add you to my bloggers on my side bar.

Dsole said...

Hey, Istambul snowed... beautiful! I really like the one of the big mosque... great! Amazing city uh?
It happens the same to me... I don't have enough time to visit all the blogs that I want, so I do it little by little along the week.

April said...

Incedible, snow ...!! I shouold have looked at this photo after coming into the house after hard work in the garden. It is quite refreshing :-)

Kuanyin said...

Mahalo for your visit to my blog. Wow...snow on June 2nd! That's hard for me to wrap my head around! Your photo-journey were very interesting.

Peter said...

Really bad luck with the weather, but you oviously did the best out of it. A very complete visit with comments by which you learn something (or rather a lot), especially if you have never been to "Stambul", which is my case.

It's good that the Orient Express is working again, although very expensive, but I believe it now stops in Venice?

(I once had the previlidge to do a very short, chartered, trip in an Orient Express train - Paris / Reims - fantastic!)

So, now we have to wait for another week for a new post!

GMG said...

LV2,

Thanks for your visit and comments. Actually, the snow storm in Istanbul, Turkey, in February 2005, was a surprise. Even considering that we were in February, we were not prepared to get such a cold and windy weather. Now in Lisbon, Portugal, spring has finally settled and the temperature rose to 27º Celsius (80 Fahrenheit)...

Thanks also for your suggestion. My difficulty has been that I'm posting on different places I've visited and (for the time being) I've no time to commit myself to do it on a Daily basis (and that is one of the reasons why I’m not registered at the portal). Thus, I try to give some unity to the posts, concentrating on a subject – a place that I’ve visited (country, town, city, monument…) or some aspects of that place – and trying to show all related photos on the same post. This makes posts rather long. But even so I’m still in February 2005 for Blogtrotter (not to mention the Blogtrotter 70s & 80s - where I’m at August 1984 - or Blogtrotter Revival 90s – where I’m on October 1996). Of course that, as I’m not travelling so often and not surely everyday, I might have the chance to recover…
So I’ll try to reduce the length of the posts while not abandoning the concept, which is somehow different from the Daily Photo concept. And thank you very much once again for the suggestion. This blog has benefited a lot from readers’ suggestions: subtitles to the photos that developed to information on the places; reduction of the number of posts per page, and now, most probably, reduction of the size of the posts!...

Finally, thanks for your offer to add my blog to the list of your bloggers on the side bar. I’m honoured!

Trotter said...

Hi Dsole, thanks for the visit and the comment. I’m still impressed with your picture of Madrid under snow in 2005, so Istanbul the same year shouldn’t be that surprising for you... :))

April, It's refreshing to see, not so inspiring to feel... :)

Mahalo Kuanyin. I'm posting in June, but the photos were taken in February 2005. There is a big change in climate but not so drastic yet... I presume. :))

Trotter said...

Hi Peter,

yes, the weather was bad, so I went inside. Anyhow, from the top ten tourist attractions in Istanbul (or should we say traveller's highlights), I missed only one - The Bosphorus Cruise!

The Orient-Express is travelling once a year, it seems, to Istanbul; your chance this year departs from Paris on Friday, August 31st, at 15:40 (Gare de L'Est) and gets to Istanbul (Sirkeci Station) at 15:30 on Wednesday, September 5th. It stops in Budapest (Blogtrotter 70s & 80s), Sinaia/Bucharest (Blogtrotter) and Varna. Costs just Euro 6340... plus 1815 if single cabin is needed... :((
All details at:
http://www.orient-express.com/web/vsoe/journeys/3_967.jsp
Enjoy! I imagine the Paris-Reims leg with Dom Perignon, La Grande Dame, Krug Grande Cuvée, Laurent-Perrier Grand Siècle... Great treat!

I'll try to follow Lv2's suggestion and reduce a bit the size of the posts. Maybe so I can manage to reducee the period of time between posts. Anyhow, next will be on Switzerland, and then Provence... I love Provence!

niki sato said...

oh im sorry for ur wife's heath during this trip.
is she okay now?
the belly dancer and turkish bath look sooo interesting :)
thanks for sharing, Gil-chan!!!

Peter said...

Thanks for your anwers.

I'm afraid I could not afford the train trip with my reduced retirement income. Too bad! That would be a dream!

Yes, the Reims trip was of course much concentrated on champagne, on the way there, there and on the way back!

Looking forward to your next reportages. You have been everywhere! (I'm normally going to Provence in about two weeks, so maybe we can have a Provence post more or less simulatneously. I'm sure yours will be more complete!)

Oya said...

Hi Gil, at last I found some time to read through your post and leave a comment. I am sorry that you have visited Istanbul on that bad weather conditions. But it seems you had explored the " must see's" anyway. Thanks for the link, I appreciate it. Hope you will find some time to come back:) Meanwhile, keep blogging....

Z said...

Hi GMG,

Thank you for visiting Villigen: I look forward to your Swiss posts that you mentioned are coming up.

I heartily second lv2scpbk's comment about breaking up the posts. Just breaking them up into multiple posts (e.g. here you could have grouped them by the particular areas you visited) for the same day would help people like me who have short attention spans and might only want to comment about one or two aspects ;-)

Anyway, what I wanted to say is that it sounds like you had quite a unique experience with the snow in Instanbul!

lv2scpbk said...

Hi GMG, Came back to read your response. Thanks for considering it. Z said it in the shorter version. Yes, I agree to post all the photos you want, just to break them up. Anyway, I still will come back either way.

Also, wanted to let you know I have added you to the list of bloggers I like to visit on my side bar.

Ash said...

Awesome images. Thoroughly enjoying it!

CaBaCuRl said...

Thanks for coming back to my blog. I can't believe those photos of the snow in Istanbul...amazing. Also loved the photos of the Persian rugs.

Trotter said...

Hi Niki,
Domo arigato gozaimasu for your concern. Actually she was OK three or for days later!
It seems you’re ranking me at the level of celebrities; I’m flattered…

Peter,
The August 31st trip seems a great treat; but I’m not sure the cost-benefit relation is adequate!
Further to Lv2’s and Z’s suggestions, I’ll try to reduce the size of the posts. Hope it will work…
Provence is wonderful. After having been there I found the books of Peter Mayle: just amazing!!! Hope to re-visit it through your eyes. Late June isn’t it already a bit too busy?
Anyhow, enjoy!

Oya,
Thanks for the visit and the comment. I’m enjoying Istanbul in a different way with your blog, and one day I’ll be back… Thanks also for the support!

Z
Thanks! I’ll try a new model, and maybe I can make it more often…

Lv2
Thanks once again for the suggestion and the listing; I’m honoured!

Ash, Cabacurl
Thanks

isabella said...

Ha, ha! I cannot imagine how much more you could've seen if it didn't snow ;-)
Great photos and narrative - I feel as if I just visited Stambul...Even enjoyed the snow ;-)

Irina said...

I must admit that it's rather surprising to see the snow in Istanbul. I can imagine what a catastrophe it was for local people!

Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment.

Aditi said...

ahh the cistern and its pillars looked beautiful..

Emily Lin said...

Hope your wife is feeling better now. It's great to travel around the world with your loved ones. How wonderful it is to enjoy the every moment and cherish it by helding each other's hand.

I love snow. Too bad there's no 4 seasons in Malaysia. And I haven't seen any real snow in person too. The Sunken Palace is truly impressively builted. I bet Istanbul is certainly a wonderful place to travel around. The snow is looking really thick. I'm shivering now. :p

Yea I agree with Lv2. The photos and narratives that you have posted are all awesome and it's hard for us to comment all of them - I tend to forget what I want to write after finished writing first part of it if the post is too long or something.

And I'm looking forward for your posts of Switzerland and Provence!

Sharm said...

good work

have a nice day ..

Leena said...

What an experience! But it was nice to read and see photos. Do you already know, when are you going again?
Thanks for visiting my blog!

Trotter said...

Isabella,
Now that you mention it and that I'm so far away, the snow doesn't seem so dreadful. Anyhow, it's not that difficult to imagine what I could have seen without the snow; just see the sunny pictures of Istanbul posted by Oya and Seda… ;))

Irina,
thanks for the comment; those were not easy days for the residents, but at least schools were closed...

Adit, Sharm thanks for the vist and comments.

Emily Lin,
Thanks for the comment and the concern. Everything was OK two or three days later.
You're right about the snow; sometimes it looks beautiful, but usually it's not so nice in cities. Snow is not so urban...
I note your agreement with Lv2 and Z. I'll try, but I'm not sure it will work...

Leena,
Thanks. I know that I'll go back one day, but with so many other places I would also like to go, I've no foreseenable schedule...

Cuckoo said...

I know I am quite late here. Have been extremely busy.. not able to visit blogs. :((

How's your wife now ? Hope she's ok.

Never imagined Istanbul in snow before I read it. So liked it very much in spite of the bad things.

Thanks.

GMG said...

Hi Cuckoo, thanks for the concern: everything is ok...
Saw your last posts, they're quite interesting!!

Sigma said...

Finally here to see the updates :-) And all I can say is WOW!!
Wonderful wonderful images!

Trotter said...

Hi Sigma,
happy to see you back. Thanks!

Saturn said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dawning One said...

wonderful Turkish Kilims, hope you brought one home. ;-)
Have you been to Capadoccia and the Goreme Valley and Urgup. Totally out of this world!

Trotter said...

These kilims and the rest belonged to Ibrahim Pasha; they are priceless! Capadocia is on my list; slowly I'll get there...

Anonymous said...

Great photos, really enjoyed them. Thank you. One comment:

I've been living in Istanbul for 22 years. It snows every year, usually over a foot deep. One year it snowed over a meter (1987 March). In the 1950s it was so cold that the Bosphorus froze over. I've seen photos of cars out in the middle of it.

Trotter said...

Anonimous,
Thanks for the info! Now I know... ;))