September 5th, 2011 browsing by day


Sunday Sept 4. A walk through Ancient and contemporary church celebrations

Monday, September 5th, 2011

The strong wind from shore at my Kumkapi anchorage worried me and I did not go into town Saturday late afternoon, as I had intended. In the morning it had calmed down and I set out early; climbed over the hill. Shopkeepers in the bazaar where just rolling up their blinds and dusting their wares, having tea on the sidewalk. I stopped to have a bowl of lentil soup with pita bread and coffee. Across the Golden Horn inlet and up the hill from the Katakoy district where the Galata Kulesi tower towers over Istanbul.
I made it in plenty of time for the 10 o’clock service at St. Anthony. The church was built around the turn of the 19th to the 20thcentury. Neo Gothic and, as most of those period churches, not particularly attractive. Italian Franciscans run the parish. At this particular English mass about 30 percent of the women were Filipinas, the choir 100%. The men were dominated by the Nigerians who live here and the priest who served at mass and his altar servers were all Nigerians. The acoustics were bad and the Nigerian accent made it difficult to follow the sermon. But it was such a treat to be able to finally participate at mass again after the scarce opportunities in Romania and Bulgaria.

On the way back I just happened to run into Wolfgang and Inge on the Galata Bridge. They came to town from the Asian side to take pictures of the main Istanbul sites. They had lost their camera and pictures on the North Turkey coast at the start of their Black Sea cruise. We visited the Hagia Sophia Museum.

The church was inaugurated on December 27th in 537 AD; built in the time when we North Europeans ran around in animal skins and lived in mud plastered huts.

You all know that I have an obsession with visiting churches and temples. The Sophia Church has made the biggest emotional impressions on me. It is awesome to stand there in the middle of this enormous building where the pillars and columns soar to incredible heights. The Hagia Sophia dome has a diameter of 31-33 meters (100/108 feet) and a height of 54 meters (177 feet), supported by just 4 pillars. Only recently with laser technique and computer programs have men been able to discover the engineering feat that has baffled architects for centuries. Even though the floor was filled with tourists from the four corners of the earth, there was a hush, no one dared to raise their voice. It was an experience that happens just occasionally in a lifetime.

When the Christians were chased out of this part of Europe by the Muslim Turks, in 1453, the building was converted to a mosque. The mosaics of the Christian origins are the sole/soul
survivors. Just think of what it would be like for a Christian to worship in a former Mosque, with a mosaic of Mohamed high up over the sacristy.

When I got back to the boat she had dragged anchor. It looked like someone had moved the boat back once. I had left the key in the ignition. Thank you, whoever you are. A piece of steel cable was lodged in the anchor blades, which prevented it from digging in properly. Not feeling safe there any longer, I moved back to Asia, where I trust the bottom better. I also switched to the much heavier anchor. The light anchor works fine in sand and mud but I suspect that there is sea grass/weed on the bottom.  I have not decided yet what I’ll do in the next days. Continue sightseeing, there is still a list of places I like to see, or cruise the Sea of Marmara for a while and return. “Kirsten Jayne” left earlier this afternoon (Monday) after they let me ride along up the creek here in their dinghy to the Migros market where they provisioned and I took advantage to stock up on some of my staples. If any of you was wanting to meet me in the area here, speak up.