29 May 2008

Nobody knows but the Turks

Today I thought I would walk the entire length (7 km) of Constantinople's old inland city walls, and possibly add on the rest, too (+40 km?). Those who know me will not be surprised. But. I also wanted to see the local museum of archaeology, which required more time than expected. This, and not the fact that the alcoves of the ruined wall are inhabited by drug-addicted derelicts and rabid dogs, is what prevented me from carrying out this mission. So, some other time. Instead, I left Selin's apartment in the late morning and wandered over to the remains of a Roman aqueduct. Aqueducts are awesome. From there, I meandered to the nearby Suleyman Mosque, most of which was closed for restoration (but free, so who cares). After the mosque, I ambled through the market to the aforementioned archaeology museum(s) and spent hours looking at marble busts and such. I love this. I was pretty tired after the museum(s) but still found enough energy to trudge up to the "basilica cistern", the mundane name and $8 admission fee of which had initially turned me off to it. Well, it was pretty magnificent inside. You go down under the city and into a vast, cavernously vast, subterranean water storage environment. It's all held up by rows of columns, lit by weird, colorful lights, and clichéd themes from baroque and classical music play ambiantly in the background. The highlight are two Medusa heads built into the bases of two of the columns. They are highlights because one of them is upside down and the other one is on its side. So mysterious! The tourists loved it... OK, I did, too. Those are the *interesting* things I did today. I also did other, less interesting things (like finally locating the Sublime Porte and buying bread and cheese for my next six meals). But I won't recount those in detail. Sadly, I didn't have any awkwardly humorous encounters with eccentric people. But tomorrow...


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