Monday, October 24, 2011

My Stray Cat Expedition in Istanbul, Turkey - Day 5, Part 1


My Stray Cat Expedition in Istanbul, Turkey - Day 5, part 1 (continued from Day 4, part 2)
Dr. Arnold Plotnick
(click pictures to enlarge) 

Sunday

            Today I thought we’d try something a little different.  Today we’re gonna pop on over to the Asian side of Istanbul. Our destination is Uskudar, a charming district easily accessed  by ferry and teeming with historical mosques. Exploring Uskudar gives us a chance to experience the streets  of a quiet, everyday neighborhood, without the opulent  architecture, modern style and throngs  of people that we see on the European side.



We got up early, had a quick  breakfast, then took the tram to the Eminonu stop. Grabbed the ferry to Uskudar, for only $1.75 round trip!  13 minutes after boarding we pulled up to the ferry dock at Uskudar. 

            The first thing we saw from the pier is the Mihrimah Sultan Mosque, built by Sinan in 1548.  The mosque  was built for Sulayman I in memory of his favorite  daughter.   The mosque was beautiful, but I was more impressed with the stunning rococo Ahmed III fountain out front.  It’s an architectural masterpiece, with calligraphy, masonry and art, seemingly in the midst of a  traffic island.


 After this mosque, we headed across the street to another mosque, the  Yeni Valide mosque. This mosque was built for the mother of Sultans Mustafa II and Ahmet III, who was buried in the adjacent tomb.  Again, the inside of the mosque is nice, but nothing spectacular.  The grounds around the mosque were pretty nice, though, and there were lots of cats  milling about, as you can see:


These kitties were in the courtyard in the front of the mosque.  Back behind the mosque, it was kitty city.  A few men were sitting around, relaxing,  while cats everywhere were either sunning, playing, or trying to charm some bait from a fisherman.


Notice the very bold black cat on the bench next to the fisherman in the blue shirt.  The others wait patiently, hoping he’ll toss ‘em something.  The black kitty has no qualms asking directly.


Meanwhile, another group of cats meandered about near a man who was sitting quietly on a bench in the courtyard, lost in his own thoughts.   Compared to the busy mosques we saw on the European side, it was nice to see a quiet peaceful mosque in this low-key town. 

In the courtyard  of the mosque, I took a seat on a bench, and ended up meeting one of the sweetest and most adorable cats on the trip.  Look at this one’s face!


Is she the cutest thing ever?  And  look how sweet and docile she was:


I really hated leaving this mosque.  This cat would have stayed on my lap for hours if I hadn’t gotten up to leave. 

On the way out, I saw an interesting scene.  There was a dead pigeon on the ground.

A few cats were milling around the murder scene. If I were a lawyer, I’d have a little trouble defending this particular suspect:


We left this mosque and headed over to the Mimar Sinan market.  This market was nothing exciting, but the building was charming, and was located in a quiet square where locals gather on benches around a central fountain. 


I stopped at the fountain to relax and do some people watching. While sitting on the bench, I (of course) noticed a very cute kitten on the grass behind me, and she soon became a fixture on my lap.


After our little rest at this square, we prepared ourselves for the long uphill trudge that awaited us.


The Istanbul, Turkey Stray Cat Adventure:   
Day 1   Day 2 pt1   Day 2 pt2   Day 3 pt1   Day 3 pt2   Day 4 pt1   Day 4 pt2   Day 5 pt1
Day 5 pt2   Day 6   Day 7

Other Dr. Plotnick adventures:  Amsterdam   Vienna   Budapest   Bangkok (coming soon)
 
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