The flight was about 2.5 hours long but the buses to and from the airports made the trip seem much longer. We had a scare when we were going through the passport control after we landed and the lady said that we had to purchase a Visa. Natali was worried that it would be super expensive or something like that. It ended up being 30 EUR but it got Natali pretty panicked for a few minutes.
We got to our final destination at about 10:00 at night and were starving so we asked for recommendations from Saban, the guy that we booked our apartment with. He suggested a restaurant called Doy-Doy that was just up the street from us. We headed that way and found it easily. We entered the restaurant and the guy on the main floor said to go up to the terrace, so up we went. We went to sit down but another guy said to keep going up. This happened about 4 times (seriously, each time we tried to sit down and they had to keep telling us to go up) before we arrived at the top. It was definitely worth the stairs. We had a great view of the Blue Mosque all lit up at night.
It's Natali now...Reed wrote that introduction while we were in Europe. Anyways, we started our first day in Istanbul touring the underground Basilica Cistern. It was little eery but really neat and I really like the pictures...
Inside the New Mosque... We really loved going into all the mosques. We found them to be beautiful and very peaceful places. It was also touching to see so many people who cared so deeply about their religion. The only mosque we didn't really like was the Blue Mosque because it has become SOO overrun with tourists that it just has lost that special peacefulness about it. But the others are all lovely. In the first Mosque we went into, I asked this young Muslim girl near the door if I was allowed in wearing pants (as opposed to a skirt of course). She couldn't really speak any English but could tell I wanted help with something wardrobe related so she immediately hopped up so excited to help me. She called a couple friends over who proceeded to put a scarf around my head and shoulders, helping take my shoes off etc haha. It was a little invasive of my personal bubble but so sweet :) (They seriously were SO tickled to help). When they were done they all said how "bootiful" I looked :-). And yes, you can wear pants inside :).