Istanbul - some mosques, some pampering

Another warm and sunny day on Wednesday - perfect for a little trip to Üsküdar!
The ferry rides over the Bosphorus are aways part of the fun.
Passing by Dolmabahce Saray.
A big fat frighter came in sight. It passed right in front of us!
Kind of reliefed to see its rear end as it continued towards the Black Sea.
I walked the busy streets by the ferry station. Others were just chilling... If the cats are the rulers of Istanbul, the street dogs are the hippie community.
There is a small covered bazaar with a little park in front of it that actually still had flowers.
I had a plan to visit 3 special and different mosques - but actually there are many more here!
Calling Batman
Walking through a residential street. Some old school wooden houses remain.
Arriving at the Sakirin mosque - looking through the ceiling of the entrance gate.

It's a very new mosque, that's the main reason I wanted to visit it.
But just as I had covered myself up to enter, the call to prayer started. So I waited outside.
The mosque is surrounded on three sides by a huge cemetery, so I walked there for a while.
Oceans of graves.
Most seem to be family graves where many people are buried.
The place is so big that it even has numbered streets and alleys, and cars are driving through it.
Finally I did get into the mosque though. I took the women's entrance and walked up to the balcony.
Now this is a completely different experience from visiting a busy place like the Blue Mosque. This one is definitely not a tourist attraction, people actually come here to pray.
It was extremely quiet and I didn't feel comfortable taking a lot of pictures, so I just sat and looked around for a while.
From the outside
All the mosques on my list are within walking distance, so I soon arrived at the second one, the Valide Atik. But before entering I honored my stomach. I tend to walk for hours and not eat enough, but today I made a real lunch break in a small restaurant and had a big portion of Iskender kebap.
New wooden houses in the neighborhood
This is one of the "classic" mosques with beautiful wall decorations.

One of the advantages of visiting a mosque as a woman is that you can / must go up on the balcony which is reserved for women. From there you get a nice, different view of the interior.
This time I was nearly alone and the women who came in later were not as quiet as in the other mosque. It was also easier walking around the upper floor. So I got more pictures out of this visit.

So many beautiful details!


I had my latest gadget with me, a 360 degrees camera. Here's part of a roundview.
360 degrees view - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA


And I played around with it a bit...
Out on the street again in Üsküdar
This is something like a power station, painted to look like a little house. There are more of these all over town.
I had been looking forward to visiting the Cinili Camii - the tiled mosque - since I am a big fan of tiles. But I went at the wrong moment...
Fortunately there's a hammam nearby that I had planned to go to anyway. I got the full treatment for only 60 lira. In some of the big touristy hammams they will charge you the same amount but in Euros...
And the lady who worked on me did a good job of peeling me without making me feel as if I was getting  skinned alive.

Changing rooms
One thing I noticed over the 19 years that I have been coming to Istanbul is a slight change in hammam culture. In earlier years, all the visitors got completely naked. Now you have more of them wearing panties. But I still prefer to take off everything!
This is a real neighborhood hammam which you could tell by the fact that there was a full family - mother, grandmother and three young girls - which I had not seen on my other visits to the hammam.

It was only after 3 PM when I left, enough time to take a ride to Kadiköy and visit the tango shoe shop there! I had forgotten the street number but vaguely remembered where it was on the map and the name of the bus stop. Actually I found it after just a two minutes walk.
It's called Tanguera and owned by a woman who used to live in Frankfurt, so we had a little chat in German. They have nice shoes but not the color I was looking for. 
On the dolmus (mini bus) to the ferry station we drove through a street that had dozens of shops for evening and wedding gowns.
I got on the ferry at 4:30 PM, just in time for the sunset!
Looking back at Kadiköy.

Sultanahmet ahead
More of Kadiköy in the evening light
What a skyline! Everything between Galata and Levent... And so much boat traffic.
Last light on the Topkapi Saray
Since it wasn't so late I went out to get my hair cut, as I always do here. Unfortunately the salon where I had gone to last time was now closed. Instead I landed on Planet Hipster.... AKA the HairMafia salon.
Sharp new cut and a manicure. Thanks for the unflattering light...
Some dinner and rest later I was ready to hit the dance floor.
When I got to the milonga at 10 PM it was nearly empty - I thought I was in the wrong place. But by 11 PM it had filled up nicely. Makes you wonder if all those people don't work in the morning!