Thank God that’s over!
It all ended seven days back. Final fitting, final check, final clean, a few selfies with the staff and MB was on his way to Ataturk airport. MB made a one-day detour to Dubai to meet up with some friends of old who were visiting UAE. And showed them some Dubai sights. Then onwards to Doha and the return to the daily hum drum. Doha traffic gridlock seems to have eased a fraction during MB’s departure, as one or two roadworks seem to have cleared. But MB is hearing the opposite from others. So it’s the luck of the draw MB guesses. And MB is just one lucky duck.
Pope Francis followed in the footsteps of MB within a day or two of MB’s departure. Hardly a surprise. Not sure if Papa Francis got any dental work done during his stay but he had lots of good things to say about the Middle East and its current political/religious mess. Inshallah the message sinks in.
Big thanks to all MB’s new friends in Istanbul who looked after MB very well during his stay. Most have peculiar names. Peculiar to MB at least who has not met many Turkish people in his travels to date. Names like Gozde, Hicrah, Acelya, Busra, Irem & Esra. MB also picked up a few basic phrases in the Turkish language, which will be handy to have in future and should assure MB of the juiciest kabab in the local Turkish takeaway. Allah u akbar.
MB is giving you all a few more pics from his Constantinople trip.
Right beside the Hagia Sophia Cathedral/Mosque/Museum stands the entrance to a 1,500 year old underground cistern which was used to store water for the Emperor and his people. Called the Basilica Cistern. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basilica_Cistern
The water was transported to the cistern from a forest 19km outside the city via brick viaducts which MB posted some pics of on previous Istanbul post earlier this year. The cistern is approx 10,000 Sq M on plan and the brick arched roof is supported by 336 marble columns each 9m high. The walls are constructed in such a manner as to make them fully waterproof. Carp fish swim in it today and are on view to visitors. It’s an impressive place to visit but the photography is difficult due to the low light. The few that MB saw trying to take pics were using tripods. MB did the best he could hand-holding.