Today I woke up to the call of the Muezzin calling the faithful to prior. Well, there was actually four of them, as they were four mosques around the cruise ship terminal. We got up a bit earlier than usual to take part in an excursion to the Blue Mosque and the Basilica Cistern: both amazing, cavernous spaces. Hard to decide what was more impressive: the delicate tiling and the vibrant colours of the Mosque or the vast, cavernous space with its dozena of columns and doric capitals.Apparently this is only one of hundred of hidden, subterranean cisterns, fed by aquaeducts. The mind boggles. By the way, for an excellent account of Justinian’s East Rome, check out William Rosen’s Justinian’s Flea: Plague, Empire and the Birth of Europe. Excellent book.
At 6 pm, we left the harbour again to head to Athens, under the fading light of the Bosporus. Magic. Unfortunately marred by the smoker’s cough of the majority of our neighbours. Gosh, I completely forgot how fond Germans are of smoking. While the proprietors of the ship are keen to keep smokers out of the ship they are still smoking on their balconies and some of the outside bars. Sigh.
And don’t start me on the nudity.