Istanbul - zig-zagging through Balat

One area which I had touched briefly on previous trips but never really explored is Balat by the Golden Horn. Time to change this! I started my tour on its outer boarder, by the old city wall.
Right on the edge there was quite a busy crowd. Turns out that it is a religious site with several türbe (tomb of holy man) where the locals like to come for prayers.

There's also a little old cemetery.
Outside of the city wall to the watefront
I just walked around aimlessly to see what I could find in this neighborhood. It consists mostly of small colorful houses, some new, many rather old and some in ruins.

There are also a lot of buildings that are completely covered in small tiles.

Now and then you can catch a view.
I saw about a hundred signs in the streets that indicated the direction to the Molla Aski Teras café. How could I not go there? It has a rather grand entrance.
Another "this must be crowded in the Summer" moment... Now the nargile (waterpipe) lounges are deserted except for some big white ducks.

On the terrace are some little fake village houses, closed now of course.
But the view over the Golden Horn is still quite nice. I sat down and had a little lunch here.
Galata and Sultanahmet in the background. In the center you can see the golden tower roof of the famous St. Stefan church (currently under renovation).
As I walked down the hill through the quiet little streets I arrived in "downtown" Balat.
Creative use of street art on a ruin
One of the steepest streets leads up to this school. It's a popular photo motive and actually the only place on my walk where I saw other tourists. 
From the back - it's impossible to get a good full view of the building from the street level because it's surrounded by other houses and on the hill.
Another nice view
I found the Fethiye mosque, the former Pammakristos church. Not very impressive but the colorful windows are a nice touch.
It's interesting how every mosque has a different vibe. This one is close to a school and there were three boys inside while I visited. They were wispering but still running around, playing hide and seek. No holy athmosphere here!
When I walked through the neighboring streets I got into an area of a big koran school - and the people suddenly looked different. Before they had just been dressed conservatively but here it was clear that everybody was very religious. All the women covered up and the men wearing caps and oldschool pantaloons.
And just five minutes later, everything was back to normal - it was like a small super-muslim bubble...

Down the street again. Good walking shoes are a must!
Here's where I walked:
Down by the water I decided to save some energy and take the bus for at least a part of my way home.
I was really tired but still had to go pick up a pair of dance shoes for my tango teacher. Fortunately that shop was on the way home. I also  stopped at a restaurant and ate a chicken soup to get some energy back and to beat my bad combination of a headache (because I didn't drink enough during the day) and exhaution.
I remembered how on a previous solo trip to Istanbul I not only had brought books with me but actually read them! 
Clearly I have to get back to allowing more time for my body to rest. That's one advantage of coming here in November: it gets dark early, so I am less tempted to walk for even longer than I already do!

So back home and straight to bed I went. 

When I woke up about 2 hours later  I already felt better and slowly started getting ready for the evening. Together with Mustafa, the Turkish tanguero who lives in Switzerland, I went out for dinner. It's always nice to have company during the meals. 

Then we took a cab to Besiktas and after some wandering around found Milongahane, quite a big place and by now (after 11 PM) very crowded! It's a great milonga, I will be back!