Shock and awe

Inside the Hagia Sophia

Inside the Hagia Sophia

I’ve reached saturation point. I can’t take any more. I am in stunning-mosque shock, have had all the beautiful Istanbul views I can handle…and I feel like a toy with the battery taken out.

The Hagia Sofia, or Ayasofya, is an absolutely amazing place, well worth the wait and fee. I could have wandered around there for days. I don’t know if this is the best photo, because my eye can’t differentiate between the variations of beauty any more.

Any walk on the streets of Istanbul is a spectacle of sound, smell, and sight, and if there is rain touching your face or you stop to eat something, you can involve those senses too. Busy streets make room for small red carts cooking corn on the cob and/or chestnuts, and the smoke is part of the air here.

Roasted chestnuts on the street in IstanbulThe Sultanahmet Camii (aka Blue Mosque) is another gorgeous place, worth more of my time than I had to give it, though since then I have visited two more epic mosques whose own visions of exquisite architecture hold strong in my memory. In the last one I realized after a few dozen photos that I was kind of phoning it in, my eye worn out on soaring arches and details climbing massive walls over intricate carpets layered in history.

But all of that beauty is something I can handle. My battery, my core, that left yesterday on a flight to Brussels. My walks have a little of the flavor of city-wide mopes, and I’m not sure if I’m walking because I want to see, can’t think of anything else to do, or because I am scared to sit still.

Istanbul is among my favorite places on Earth, and I think I would like to come back here, but right now I need a change of scenery.

Sultanahmet Camii (The Blue Mosque)

Besides, people have started asking me for directions, and that’s always a sign that I’ve been somewhere long enough.

So in my bag is a bus ticket to Selçuk, which is the accommodation town for the ruins of Ephesus, and is rumored to be a nice little spot in its own right. It’s about 550 kilometers from here, and will take upwards of ten hours on an overnight bus.

Sleeping on buses is a hit-or-miss thing for me, and though I tried to sleep in this morning, the Call to Prayer, beautiful as it is, is hard to ignore. It may be a long night.

I’ll set this to post after midnight (if I can figure out how) and let you know tomorrow what state of reality I was in when it posted…