Monday, September 29, 2008

Foiled by Ramazan

We have been enjoying the people, food and culture of Turkey, but ended up visiting a few less areas than we had hoped. Our bus travel has been rerouted due to the end of Ramazan, a Muslim holy month where fasting occrs during daylight hours. I didn't spell it wrong either... it's spelled Ramazan here in Turkey as opposed to Ramadan elsewhere. Same holiday, different spelling.

We thought we wouldn't be affected, as the festivals don't start until Ramazan ends, which is the day we leave. The problem is, everyone wants to travel to their celebration destination in the days leading up to the final celebrations, which means all of the buses are booked solid.

Oh well, we only had to cut out one location, and we got more time in ─░stanbul, which is where we are at the moment.

The Blue Mosque:



It's our first time in a Muslim country, so we've never experienced namaz, the call to church which occurs here five times daily. The first call comes at 5:30 every morning... it's an interesting way to wake up, that's for sure. They blast the chanting from loudspeakers at every mosque and it lasts for 2 minutes or more.

Before Istanbul,we visited the calcium carbonate pools of Pamukkale (where our camera promptly died... crap!) but you can check out what they look like here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pamukkale

Here's our one picture:



From there, we took an overnight bus to Istanbul and have been touring the city, exploring and learning how to barter.... We're not that good at it, but it's actually kinda fun. They're so nice here that bartering is like a game, not pressured really. As one vendor said in response to my 'I'm just looking,'
'I'm just selling.'

The best part of the markets are the colours and smells. It really is an experience not to be missed.

This is the Grand Bazaar:



and the Egyptian Spice Market:



We're coming to the end of our trip and are looking forward to coming home and celebrating all of the birthdays and baby births(?) and whatever else that we missed. See you all soon!

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi again B & K: I think I finally figured out how to post a comment. Too bad about limited travel - probably a lot more time to visit Istanbul (Constantinople it used to be called) and see stuff you might not have seen otherwise! See you soon. D:) & M

Janine Wahl said...

OMG Kelly! Your trip is absolutely beautiful! I have always wanted to visit Europe and take in such ancient cultures! Wow!