Friday, July 13, 2012

Blastier from the pastier: Chora Church, Istanbul

I was inspired by my last post featuring old photos from Christmas 2009 to dig up some more old holiday snaps that I never got around to posting on the blog. My trip to Istanbul in January 2008 was my last shebang before returning to New Zealand to do my MLIS degree. I met up with Andy, an English friend I met in Moscow, for a long weekend exploring the sights of Istanbul. You can see photos from our trip to the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque and read about my trip, but I gave up blogging when I got back to NZ, so I never posted the rest of my photos.

Andy had an earlier flight back home than I did, so on my last day I took a trip out to the Chora church, also known as the Church of the Holy Saviour in Chora. This is definitely one of my favourite places of all the sights I've seen on my travels. I had never heard of it before planning my trip to Istanbul, and I don't think I had much idea of what to expect there, except that it was an old church with well-preserved mosaics. The building mostly dates from the 11th century, with interior mosaics and frescoes from the early 14th century.

It was a bit off the beaten track, out of the centre, and when I got into the surrounding neighbourhood (on foot) I got pretty lost. I didn't put this on the blog at the time, because I thought my mum would kill me, but I ended up asking a Turkish couple I came across for directions, and even though they couldn't speak any English and they were clearly coming back from a shopping trip and unloading their car, they went out of their way to drive me the rest of the way to the church. So nice! I found that, when I was with Andy, who sticks out as English from a mile off, we would get hassled on the streets by people trying to sell us stuff, but as soon as I was on my own I had people coming up speaking Turkish to me, so I must blend in!

It was well worth the effort to find the place, as I was just blown away. It was really, really beautiful. Not super big, but covered with amazing mosaics and frescoes. Now that I've been to St. Mark's in Venice, I can see the similarities, but while Chora is obviously not on the same scale, you get a more intimate experience, up-close-and-personal, and at least in January, there are obviously not as many tourists.

Photos never really do these things justice, but here are some of mine anyway! This really makes me want to go back and visit Chora again.

And... back to the present. A certain Queen of all that's Coquine keeps encouraging me with my Sultry Kitchen Photos™, so here's another new dress from the sales.

Behind me, you may be able to see that I was baking cakes yesterday for dinner with Liz and Charlie. I had a glut of courgette innards from making stuffed courgettes earlier in the week, and I had heard that you could make a really moist chocolate cake with them, so I decided to suppress my doubts and give it a whirl. I actually wasn't very happy with the result, it was not very chocolatey at all and the texture was a bit dense and claggy but, as you can see from the photo below, you can't actually tell it has courgettes in it - I was quite surprised at how thoroughly they disappeared into the cake. So an (un)healthy way to sneak some extra vege into your life at least! I may try tinkering around with the recipe if I find myself with lots of courgette flesh lying around again. One good thing about being unemployed and it RAINING ALL THE TIME means I can run about domestic goddess-ing it up all day :)


  1. I have old photos in my camera, that I just can't bring myself to get rid of, but the time is past and it seems too late to blog aout them. What a good idea!

    Lovely pictures, love the ress and the cake looks IS chocolate after all!

    Love from Bolton.

    1. Thank you! Go for it, why not? I thought to myself, it might not be new to me, but it will be new to my readers! The only difficulty is sometimes remembering exactly what the photos are!

  2. Hahahahahaha! Yesssssss. I'm loving these Sultry Kitchen Photos™ series. How can you hold a sexy mug like that? Every time I try to look mysterious and sexy, I end up looking either constipated or terrified. Not sexy.

    I'm loving this dress too! I'm glad I'm not in France for the sales...too tempting!

    Enjoy the 14th of July! I'm sure you're going to do something fun!


    1. Thanks! There are plenty of failed ones that fell by the wayside, trust me. Especially if I ever try to do "sexy face" or fake smile... I'm not very photogenic either, but I do find it easier with no-one on the other side of the camera. Plus my camera has a setting that counts down for 10 seconds and then takes 3 shots, so slightly more chance of relaxing your face and getting a good'un.

      I'm crossing my fingers for no rain tonight but it doesn't look too good... God, this weather, you're not missing much there!!


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