14. Apr, 2016

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THURSDAY 23-4-15

Another late start, but offset by the fact that the weather was bright and sunny, which was most welcomed. Surprisingly the weather when we left the UK was quite nice yet as we've headed this way it seems to have become showery and cooler, certainly at night. So much so that on many mornings we set the boiler to hot water and central heating for a while. Our motorhome neighbour, Reece had also delayed us a little by coming over and introducing himself and he and we had quite a long chat, but that sort of thing is always time well spent.

Today was Aya Sofia Museum day. This is somewhere Rosina hadn't managed to visit the last time she was here. The queue was huge, and having stood in it for some time, realised we were standing in the queue for tour groups, so off to the left we went to join another one, and through security (I have yet to work out how these people can manage to watch the X-Ray screen as well as playing with their phones at the same time). The Chef then joined another queue within the complex to buy the tickets, and then it was off to join another queue.

Finally we entered the building and after looking round for a while I asked The Chef where the rest of it was. She asked what I meant; I said that this being a museum then there should be lots of artefacts. “No” says she “It's the building itself that is the museum, there is nothing else”. I thought the interior was rather shabby; they really could have done a bit more with it, with perhaps some up-lighting to pick up the decorated ceilings. Instead it seemed to be a case of 'This place is far too shabby for us to pray in any longer, so we’ll put in some turnstiles and make it a little earner'. Honestly, Grand Central Station in New York has about as much interior space, far better murals on the ceiling, it's free, no queues and I bet it has better plumbing.

With that box ticked we wandered over to the Blue Mosque with a view to looking around inside it and taking some pictures and video. No chance, the queue was huge, as Rosina had already been in during her previous trip here, I said I wasn't prepared to join any queue that long, and that maybe we'd strike lucky another day. We then popped next door to The Hippodrome, which is a large oblong outside space with a couple of obelisks on it. It was here that chariot racing took place. That made sense since the bookies odds could be displayed by hauling them up the side of an obelisk for all to see.

Then it was back to Gulhane Park for a wander around the tulips and a chance to take a few video shots. It would appear that my chef got her days mixed up having arrived here in the middle of the night and that it was actually Thursday, which then meant today was the Bank Holiday.

Our ‘campsite’ continues to be very noisy, but its all part of the atmosphere I suppose.