Travelogue to Turkey
Saya memang lama teringin nak menulis tentang setiap pengembaraan saya. Tapi selalunya tak kesampaian. Dah banyak negara saya mengembara, rasa rugi pula kalau tak ditulis. Tapi nak buat macam mana kan, selalunya hangat-hangat tahi ayam. Kali ni perjalanan saya ke Turkey, saya cuba sekali lagi untuk menulis travelog, walau pun masih ada sikap-sikap kemalasan tu. Saya cuba menulis sewaktu dalam perjalanan di sana. Kata orang memori masih fresh, lebih baik tulis waktu tu. Tapi bila duduk dalam bas tu walaupun berjam-jam, susah pulak nak tulis, sebab pening kepala. Lepas sampai hotel...dah malam & nak tidur sebab kepenatan. So some part of it, I wrote it while I was there and the rest I continue once I come back to Malaysia. Gaya bahasa saya, tak payah komen le, sebab saya bukan ahli bahasa. Saya menulis mengikut gerak hati dan gaya bahasa saya. Penggunaan bahasa pun ikut mood waktu menulis, kadang dalam bahasa Melayu dan kadang dalam bahasa Inggeris. Dua bahasa tu je yang saya tahu pun. Lagi pun, bukan nya saya tulis buku. Saja-saja nak bercerita berkongsi pengalaman.
21-22/3/2015 (First Day)
We met at level 5 KLIA at counter H at 8.30pm for all the participants to gather and put our bags for group check in. Being a small size lady, my bag is considered oversize for me. Many comment that the size of the bag is big enough for me and even can pack me inside it. I just brought one big size bag, one hand luggage (free bag from Anadalusia) and a handbag. Last minute packing anyway. Our tour leader is Hjh Shalina. I would say she's quite a good leader. Her overall performance, hmmmm...may be to early to judge. This is my second time using Andalusia travel agency. If you want to choose a muslim tour, I would suggest this one. Solat time is taken care and tour leader keeps on reminding us on where and went to perform our prayer. There are about 26 of us in this group. Before leaving to departure gate, a doa was read for us to have a safe journey going and coming back and our tour will benefits us.
The flight arrived on time. We started our journey at 11.30 pm. It was already late and passed my usual bedtime. Somehow, I can't sleep much on the flight, may be disturbed by the sound of a child who cried loudly on and off. Don't know what's his problem, may be a little bit uncomfortable. On top of that the person sitting behind me also keep on talking, so really unable to have a good sleep. In my heart, I feel like saying...can you two stop talking...I can't sleep. Anyway that's part and parcel of traveling. Apart from that my journey was smooth. We reached Istanbul Atarturk airport about 1 hour before the expected time of arrival~ 4.30am.We just had our Subuh before landing, some pray while waiting for the others to have a toilet stop. Alhamdulillah all our luggage safely arrive.
It's Sunday morning here in Istanbul. The weather is cold, but not to the freezing temperature. Our local tour guide here is a lady, named Finar & our bus driver is Mustafa. Our first destination was sight seeing tour to some of the famous architecture in Istanbul ie: the Blue Mosque, Ayasofya and Topkapi palace.
We arrived at Blue mosque quite early in the morning. It was about 7.15am. The mosque was not opened yet for visitors at this time. It will only open for tourists after 8am. From far you don't know why it's called blue mosque because it's not blue at all. Inside,the floor was made by blue marble (according to Finar).It was built by Sultan Ahmed about 400 years after Ottoman Empire conquered Istanbul. When Ottoman Empire lead by Sultan Muhamed AlFatih conquered Istanbul (formerly Constantinople under Byzantine) in 1453, Ayasofya which was previously a church under Byzantine empire was converted to a mosque. Ayasofya remained a mosque used throughout the Ottoman Empire until after its fall, in which Ayasofia was then converted to museum when Kamal Atarturk became the first president of Turkey. When Muslim armies took over this previous church, they didn't destroy it. Later the pictures of Jesus Christ and all the pictures painted on the wall during Byzantine empire was covered with plaster.
While waiting for the mosque to open, we just walk around the garden situated between the blue mosque and Ayasofya building and takes some pictures. There're quite a number of dogs here and they're big size dogs. Since most Turkish are Maliki Mazhab, they can touch dog. We on the other hand, just stay far from these dogs (just took pics with dogs from far. Not touching the dog..😬). These dogs are well behaved. They will follow us and sometimes came nearer to us, but they won't disturb the visitors. They will show response to those who call or pat them. There's a marked on the left ear of these dogs, indicate that they have been vaccinated and considered healthy dogs. The interesting part is they will chase if they see a person on bicycle or any car come across this area. At one occasion, they really run after a cab and surround the car..until the driver had to stop the car. Even one of the old dog we saw earlier which looks tired, suddenly run very fast to catch the rest of the dogs to surround this car. Hahaaa.... Don't know whether they are trained to keep the vehicle out of this garden probably and let the human being enjoy the scenery. What a smart creation of Allah.
Once the mosque open for tourists, we went straight to the blue mosque. Before entering the mosque, we were brought to visit a hippodrome which situated next to the mosque. This area used as a place for chariot competition during Roman and then continued during Byzantine empire. There're 2 obelisks erected there with ancient Egyptian words. Finar explained it in detail but I can't really concentrate that much...anyway it was about the history of pagan and later the game continued by the Christian. We went back to the mosque after that. The ablution area for brothers was situated outside the mosque. Tombol paip dia special sikit...macam bentuk kepala celak zaman dulu-dulu. The water there was really cold especially early morning like this and definitely no hot water... Hehee. Some of us pray tahayatul masjid and after that continue with sight seeing inside and outside the mosque.
We didn't go to Ayasofya. It's not part of our tour programme but an optional tour when we come back later to Istanbul before leaving to Malaysia. Yup...must go to visit this place. After that we went straight to Topkapi palace. It is the imperial palace that was the primary residence of the Ottoman Sultans for approximately 400 years. There were few sections in this palace, starting with the compound where it was a meeting area and where the sultan gave his instructions & advices to the warriors before going to war. There's also a place seems like administrative area where the meeting was held. Another section is the harem where the imperial ladies are kept. According to Finar sometimes the number of the imperial ladies could be up to 400. She said this include concubine. Some of the parents at that time will give their daughter to the sultan. The one who had a son would be elevated to a higher status, because she can produce a potential heir to be the next sultan. I have a discussion with Ida Shahnaz, whether these concubines were considered slaves of the sultan and that could be the reason how their son can be the potential heir. Yup, in fact Islam never prohibit slavery...but Islam encourage people to free the slaves. Our discussion went to the next level about 'modern slavery'. The only thing in modern era we don't call people slave...but some treat their maid or workers worse than slave. So we conclude that slavery is still exist till this day. And remember in a hadith of Rasulullah once said something like 'di akhir zaman ibu2 yang melahirkan hamba'.
Sorry diverted a little bit...Ok the next section is where the museum is. Here is where they kept the historical things including one section in which some of the belongings of previous prophets including Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. There are things claim belong to Nabi Musa ie: his stick, Nabi Daud and Ibrahim. Frankly speaking, I am not impress with those things... I don't know, I guess we shouldn't be so 'taksub' with the prophet stuffs. We believe in the miracle Allah gives to His Prophets but for me not to the extend of keeping all those as a holy stuffs. People can claim this and that belong to previous prophet... But only God knows. They also displayed small string of beard & tooth of claimed to be belong to Nabi Muhammad (which I really have to focus sampai juling mata). Other stuffs include swords used by prophet Muhammad and sahabahs and the dress of Fatimah Azzahra and Ali r.a also were displayed. May be I was impressed by the size of their sword and this might indicate previous people strength and not sure whether they were really bigger size than us (oooppsss...no I am not comparing them to my size...Hahahaa😁). In the other sections, they displayed the stuff of previous sultans including the diamond pendant. Yup... There were really big diamond...😳. At that time it was already ~11 am and the number of tourist already increased by this time. So I didn't proceed to see other sections. Asyik nampak kepala orang jer...Hehee.
Along the street back to our bus, we can see a lot of stall selling roasted chestnuts. At one of the stalls we were excited seeing an antique weighing scale. There were also some other stalls selling boiled or grilled corn. If you would like to try...there's also stall selling pomegranate as well as pomegranate fresh drink. I just bought roasted chestnuts... I can't remember how much I paid for that... May be around 2TL.
After lunch, we went to Bursa by bus and took a ferry from Istanbul to Bursa. Along the way we go through the Europe part of Istanbul. A lot of beautiful building built during the Roman Empire. The architecture which you can see in Europe countries. The other part of Istanbul is the Asia part of it. About 3% of Turkey is part of Europe and the rest is under Asia. We crossed the Bosporus strait by ferry. The Black Sea and the Marmara sea both flow into this strait. A spectator view seen when we crossed the Marmara sea. Some of us went up to the upper deck of the ferry to have better view while feeding the birds. I on the other hand, was very tired...Don't know why. May be because I was unable to sleep in the plane made me felt very sleepy and have no strength to go up. So I missed the beautiful view...heheee. Never mind there will still be a chance later once we come back to Istanbul.
Along the way to Bursa, we saw windmills which is one of the energy sources used in Turkey. Apart from that electrical power also produce by solar and through hydroelectric. We saw olive trees, vineyards and apple trees. According to Finar, Turkish people do consume alcohol, eventhough Muslim...but they don't commercialise it (Because they are Muslim country). I just smile...No comment. 98% of Turkish people are Muslim... So in term of food, InsyaAllah we Muslims have no problem finding halal food. But it depends whether you can adapt your tastebud or not. For me, I can foresee...I won't like Turkish food that much and don't think it's easy for me to adapt.
We reached Bursa and had Asar prayer in grand mosque Bursa. Following that we had time to shop for a while in bazaar before end our tour for the day. I bought a shawl for myself...yup...sebab nampak ada bulu2 sikit kat shawl tu, walaupun Tak banyak. After that we went straight to our hotel in Kavansaray hotel. We were given an optional tour for the next day, whether we would like to go up the mountain to Uludag to see and play snow. All of us agreed to go.
We had our dinner in the hotel. Our table was labelled as 'Dorak' under the name of the local tour agency here in Turkey. The food ...hmmm...not that great. It is not my type of food. I can imagine how I am going to suffer the next 1 week trying to adapt this kind of food. There were also a group from Indonesia stayed at the same hotel. Our group consist of 26 members. There I got to know some of the participants who travel with me...Kak Siti and Kak Rok who asked me to snap their photo earlier. I got to know they're active in NGO and also involved during Kelantan flood.
We slept early because tomorrow we need to wake up early for another interesting trip. Sempat lagi iron baju malam tu...I am a bit obsessive compulsive when it comes to ironing baju. That's why most of the trip I'll bring my small iron. This time my iron dah patah, so terpaksa suruh Ida bawak iron kecik. Tapi lepas tu kena masuk bawak dlm beg besar saya ni la.😝
Ok, that was my first day experience in Turkey. Good nite....but in Malaysia, it's already early morning...
Hmmm... Kalau tak malas ada sambungan 😉