Pedestrian

Thirty minutes tinkering with the brakes this morning when not by the side of a highway with traffic whizzing by, and I think I have the front brake problem resolved. I’m tempted to replace the cable, but the brakes work now, and there’s always the chance I’ll make it worse. I’ll field test tomorrow.

I spent the day aggressively wandering the city (which I believe is a behavior Marnie has previously referred to as a “death march”). Along the way I visited:
Hagia Sophia
A supermarket
The Grand Bazaar
The Aquaduct of Valens
Topkapi Palace

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The Basilica Cistern

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Sultanahmed Mosque (originally thought it was closed, due to advice intended to have me buy a carpet).

Random thoughts:
Rarely do my navigational skills fail me, but the streets of Istanbul certainly put them through their paces. Most of the streets are unmarked, and follow a less than true path. More that once today I resorted to a compass to confirm my way. However, by the end of the day I could find my way around (and back to the hostel!). I did find that when I wander randomly, I wander randomly the same way, so keep ending up following similar paths.

Central Istanbul is really clean. There’s the dirt that comes with cobblestones, but almost no street litter. All the more amazing is that there are few trash receptacles. The most interesting of the trash receptacles look kind of like a laundry chute. The trash that goes into those chutes disappears under the street somewhere. Once you get to the edges of central historical area, the streets look more like you’d expect.

I read warnings on line about wild dogs in Turkey. I haven’t seen any in Istanbul (only a few dogs with tags punched in their ears). I think all the wild/stray cats here have eaten them. Yes, that’s right Amy; I’m still not eaten.

If you ever need to buy a carpet, Istanbul is the place. If you ever don’t need to buy a carpet, Istanbul is still the place to buy a carpet. If you stand still for a moment looking puzzled (a look I’ve perfected) someone is certain to ask what you’re looking for. “Where are you from?” “I like the US”. “Are you from California?”  “The |attraction| you want to see is closed. You should buy a carpet. I have a shop right around the corner.” “Everyone needs  carpet.” I did this at least 12 times today.

The Grand Bazaar deserves the name. It’s mostly covered, and huge. City streets, all indoors. Appears to be divided into sections: mostly jewelry, mostly hardware, mostly lingerie, etc. Except for carpet stores- there’s always a carpet store nearby. Big enough to wander in and get lost.  Reminds me of the vendor section of a really crowded Con. Times 1000.

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Tomorrow’s plan? Bike to Asia.  Find a camping store (fuel for the stove). All the camping stores appear to be right next to each other. On the way to Asia. Serendipity.

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