I had been dying to visit the Anatolian side of Istanbul since my arrival, and clear skies on Sunday finally made it possible. So we took a ferry, leaving from the mouth of the Golden Horn and sailing up and across to the lovely area around Üsküdar.
The Hagia Sophia is a spectacular conglomeration of church, mosque, and buttresses that sits like a massive tortoise opposite the blue mosque. Inside, many of the original decorations need restoration, but the grandeur of the site is undeniable.
It just means ‘upper castle’, and the one in Prague is not quite so high or gothic as the one in North Hungary, but it does have some spectacular views.
I spent most of Sunday walking through the parks and gardens of Prague, inadvertently making a huge circuit of the city (over 10 k, I’m glad I brought my good shoes). It was kind of grey and gross that day so I didn’t try to photograph everything, but here’s a view from the park looking south up the Moldau:
I woke up at 6:30 on Saturday, due to the large volume of inordinately cheerful Germans who stormed the dormitory. Giving up sleep as a bad job, I hiked over the river, found a hotel who was willing to sell me some time at their buffet, and settled down with three cups of coffee and some bread and jam to wait for a more reasonable hour. By 9, I was ready to go, so I climbed up to the Prague Castle.
The gate was swarming with people waiting for the changing of the guard. It was so weird to be here again after six years–the last time I was in this part of Europe, I was 14 and with my orchestra.