Istanbul - Sultanahmet for the end

If I had thought that I had gone to bed late the night before, that was nothing compared to my travel companions. The two of them were crawling out of bed like zombies because they had been going out until 5 AM!
But hey, Ines wanted to meet me at 10:30 in the lobby, and you can bet I was there! She came shortly after, not really awake but determined.

For the entire stay, whenever we had a view over Istanbul she kept asking: "Is that the Blue Mosque?" and we also had to tell her that she couldn't see it from where she was standing. So her one goal for Sunday was to actually see the Blue Mosque with her own eyes.

It was a lovely morning and I decided that it was worth it to walk down the hill, passing by the Galata tower. Can you belief it: I have been coming to Istanbul since 1996, this was actually my 19th time - and I had never been up on the Galata tower! I used to be turned off by long waiting lines. But now that there were so few tourists it had more become like a running gag to say: "I'll go there next time". 
Pretty streets, quiet on a Sunday morning

After a short tram ride we got off in Sultanahmet. Photo stop with the famous six minarets in the background.
Here you are, Ines, the Blue Mosque is all yours! It's the touristy places like this where you can really see how much less visitors there are in Istanbul now.
But the dogs enjoy it. Damn hippies.
This is a new thing: they make the ladies wear a skirt, even if they're wearing pants. What? I've never before seen that here.

Trying to look at an often-visited place from a new angle.
But the classic shot is always nice as well.
We walked around the area for a little while and also through the bazaar street behind the mosque.
There's a mosaic museum but it's not cheap to visit and I decided to do that another time when I would have more time. 
The huge building of the Hagia Sophia
Walking back to the tramway we passed by this little shop where a man was fixing a carpet.
We did some last-minute souvenir shopping, which meant some tiles for me. Because tiles are always good.
From there it was simple: Back to hotel, grab suitcases, go to shuttle bus, airport and fly home....

And you can bet that I am already looking at dates for next spring to come back! Because once a year is just not enough Istanbul for me...