We met up at the foot of the Galata Tower (where the guys' and girls' apartments are near) and went up the tower. Going into these types of places that get a lot of tourists makes me appreciate the fact I'm Turkish all over again because I always get to pay less :D In this case though, I was included in the tourist fare and the Burch Seminar paid for the tickets. So we went up to the top of the Galata Tower and had a very nice panoramic view of Istanbul, specifically the European side. Didn't get too much Asia, but it could be seen in the distance if one looked hard enough.
After walking around on the Galata Tower and taking photos of the city from that most wonderful and panoramic point, we went down the stairs and walked over to the Galata Bridge. Here's a view of the Bridge and from the Bridge from the left (meaning you are standing at Karakoy and looking towards Eminonu).
You can see all the fishermen, and also Yeni Camii. After crossing the bridge, we went over to the Yeni Camii which is actually in a complex. There's the mosque, and surrounding it is the Spice Bazaar, which actually came before the mosque in order to support the building of the mosque. It provided the revenue. Here's a close-up of the Yeni Camii...
We walked around in the Spice Bazaar, called the Misir (without the dots on the i's in Turkish) Carsisi (same here--no dots on the i's and squiggle on the first s). A very colorful and nice place, much like the Grand Bazaar but smaller and obviously more concentrated on spices although it did have a variety of other things. After walking around the Spice Bazaar, we met outside the front door to the Bazaar and went in to check out the mosque. Birds essentially surrounded the entire area around the mosque. Here's a photo of just one part of one wall of the mosque with birds...
Ignore the random Turkish guy in the middle of the picture.
We went in the mosque, and it was right around noon prayer time, so I asked if I could be excused and did my prayers with everybody else who was praying. It felt nice to be able to pray with a lot of other people after such a long time of not having the opportunity to do so. I enjoyed it. After praying, I went back to my group. We then decided to get up and go exploring. The original plan was to tag along with the Prof and William, but then we figured that we'd leave them alone and go exploring on our own, so that's what we did. And we happened to find a masoleum of some of the sultans of the Ottoman Empire. 6 sultans were buried there along with their families. It was quite a big masoleum because it seriously did house the families as well as the sultans themselves--there were rows of little coffins for the children of the sultans who had died very early on in life. There were coffins for the wives of the sultans, and big coffins with a specific turban in front of the coffins for the sultans themselves. Also, the tilework and designs and windows in and around the masoleum were quite wonderful. Here's an example of the tilework on the inside...Here's a picture of the outside of the masoleum...And here's another, again of the outside...After walking around the Spice Bazaar a little and the Yeni Camii, we went to Sultanahmet Mosque and to Mado aka the best dondurma (ice cream) you will ever find anywhere.
After all that, I went home and probably crashed onto my bed. Joking. I showered, ate, and THEN I crashed onto my bed. But oh, what a fun day. Little was it known that the next day would be even more interesting... :D