Wednesday 23 April 2014 65 °F
Today was yet another day of sightseeing (of varying levels of interest for me) in Istanbul, Turkey with my mom and my sister Pearl.
Istanbul is a nice city and we are getting to know it quite well. Did you know that it has had three (and possibly more) names throughout history? Byzantium, Constantinople, and now Istanbul.
After a nice breakfast at our free rooftop hotel buffet, our first sightseeing adventure for the day was touring Hagia Sofia. Over the centuries, Hagia Sofia has been a church, a mosque, and now a museum!
It is the most amazing man-made structure I have ever been in, and I was personally astounded, which is pretty significant because usually I am only "astounded" by the wonders of the natural world. This building, however, has defied logic by towering over the rest of the city for about 1,600 years, and its architecture to this day is intricate and beautiful.
Like I said, I am only going to show a few photos on this blog, but if you would like to see more photos of our trip to Hagia Sofia, email me at the following address to subscribe to my photo stream for this trip:
Our next stop was the archeological museum of Istanbul. I photographed two nice bird species on the walk to the museum:
LAUGHING DOVE (this species fills the niche that the Mourning Dove occupies in the continental USA):
We finally arrived at the archeological museum grounds.
Suddenly, we all heard a horrific screech. All three of us jerked our heads in the direction of the noise and we could see two cats closely stalking around one another. We hurried over to the cats and crouched down nearby to watch the spectacle. After a few moments of the cats' cries and stalking around each other, a whole group of people, including ourselves, had gathered around the stand-off and was watching intently. The entire time I was thinking, "This is so much better than being in the archeological museum!"
You must be wondering why I don't sound sympathetic towards the cats? Well, I have no reason to be. Cats, especially feral ones, are the primary cause for the death of millions, I repeat, millions, of songbirds each and every year.
It was an interesting twist to our day. If you care, both cats walked away from the fight unharmed, albeit slightly bedraggled.
The probable reason for the fight happening was because instead of Istanbul having a problem with feral dogs like most cities, there are multitudes of feral cats here, so it was probably caused by the overpopulation of these creatures.
The next forty-five minutes or so were spent wandering about the relatively boring archeological museum, and then we were off to get Subway sandwiches.
Pearl and I seized this chance to eat turkey in Turkey, which is something we have wanted to do all our lives:
After lunch, we headed back to our hotel room, and the early part of our afternoon was devoted to resting up.
The last activity of the day before dinner was touring the Grand Bazaar, which is basically a big underground shopping mall with beautiful frescoes and some history behind it, as well.
Here is a COMMON MEW GULL that has chosen its nest site to be right outside our hotel room:
Bird-of-the-day to the GREAT TIT and runner-up to the LAUGHING DOVE, which were the only two birds cooperative enough for photos today. I gained no life birds today.
Turkey was a very nice, quirky country--very different from anything else I've visited this year. It is not my favorite country, but it was interesting getting to know this place for a few days. I gained twenty-four life birds here, which is very good considering that this leg of the journey was only mildly "birdy."
Stay tuned, because tomorrow, my mom, Pearl, and I will fly to Naples, Italy to meet my dad and begin the Italian leg of our travels in Europe.
World Life List: 709 Species (no life birds today)
24 life birds in Turkey!