Today I went to the Basilica Cistern, the Blue Mosque, and Galata Tower. The cistern was worth every penny, or lira. It's literally this sixth-century structure beneath the streets of Istanbul supported by endless rows of columns. I have no idea how it's still standing. Kudos to Roman architecture. There's only a few feet of water in the cistern, but it covers a large area, and someone put fish in the water. It reminded me of a cave with the dim, red lights; the sound of water dripping; and the dampness.
The Blue Mosque was beautiful and free. For the record, there is a Blue Mosque in Cairo, the Mosque of Aqsunqur. Take my word for it and don't go to the one in Cairo. You'll be disappointed; although, the minbar is lovely. The view from Galata Tower was nice, but it's nothing special. It was also very crowded. I think that I enjoyed the walk over the Golden Horn more than actually going up in the tower. (This is still on the European side.) I bought some freshly squeezed orange juice for 1 lira, and when I say freshly squeezed, I mean that they squeeze the juice out of an orange in front of you--just like they do in Cairo.
Later on, I went to the Grand Bazaar to scope out prices and potential gifts. Istanbul's bazaar is much nicer than the Khan El Khalili. It's inside with a floor instead of outside with dirt and trash. However, everything is more expensive in Istanbul. That evening I demanded a rematch in chess. I was determined to redeem myself. Well, I lost miserably several times. Many times. My hopes and dreams (and my ego) were crushed. For whatever reason, it later turned into drunken chess, which is an interesting combination.