Ayasofya Mosque Visit in 2021: from Museum to Mosque—Foggy vs Sunny Day

These events happened on the 5th and 21st of November 2021. Jonas and I visited the Ayasofya (aka Hagia Sophia) on a rather spontaneous basis. This was my second visit to the Ayasofya and my first visit since it became a mosque in July 2020. Click here to read about my Istanbul and Hagia Sophia experiences from March/April 2013. There’s also a breakdown of Hagia Sophia as a ‘wonder’ in the videogame Age of Empires II down below. A Change of Plans We arrived at the İDO pier at the indicated time of 9:30. During the downhill walk from ourContinue reading

Samarkand Museums and Cultural Heritage Sites: 2021 Entry Fees for Foreigners

Though generally an inexpensive country in 2021, I’d like to know the entry price before going to a museum. This is no different for Samarkand, with its many museums, mausoleums, mosques, and other cultural heritage sites. At the Ulugh Beg observatory, I stumbled upon a price list in Uzbek written in Cyrillic. I decided to translate the info for other foreigners coming to Samarkand. Below you’ll find a map of all the museums. Before You Visit a Samarkand Museum or Cultural Heritage Site The prices are in UZS. At the time of writing, UZS 25.000 was €1.99 or US$2.35. TheContinue reading

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Fujairah—How to Visit as a Non-Muslim

This article contains both a story of how we managed to visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Fujairah (as non-Muslims) as well as actionable tips. We visited on Wednesday the 7th of April, 2021. To skip forward to the how-to, click here. UAE Mosques that Allow Non-Muslim Visitors There aren’t that many mosques in the UAE where non-Muslims can enter. The most famous ones are in Dubai (e.g. the quite commercialized Jumeirah Mosque) and in Abu Dhabi (also called the ‘Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque’). On our journey from Dibba Al Fujairah to Fujairah City, we made a stop atContinue reading

Mosque-Surfing: Sleeping at an Albanian Mosque in Leshovik

Yes, we woke up in an Albanian mosque today in Leskovik. And yes we slept in the same room even though we’re not married (and not planning to, for those who care). The Imam and some other congregants offered it to us like that. Last night, we were planning to go freecamping – like I’ve done before in Albania –in Leshovik until the torrential rain washed everything away. A little wet and a little chaotic, Dongbum and I walked through Leshovik at night looking for an alternative stay. When we came across the mosque, we thought why not? So weContinue reading

Iran to Turkey by Hitchhiking: A World Apart

Though I’ve already been back in Turkey for two days, I’m still getting used to things once again. Just across the border from Iran to Turkey in Van, the mosques look different and the mountain peaks are snowier! The crossing from Persian to Ottoman architecture is actually much starker than expected. Especially considering there’s Ottoman architecture in tons of places outside of Turkey. Pictured is the Sobacı Hamit Yörük Mosque in Van. I arrived in Van at night, so all I could see were the elaborate neon lights upon entering the city. Seeing Van in daylight is a much better experience,Continue reading

Istanbul City Trip 2013 with Mom (Turkey)

Here are some photos and treasured memories from my 5-day trip to Istanbul, Turkey, with my mother back in 2013. I didn’t have a blog back then, so you figure I added all this much later. Dates of the trip: 28th of March till 2nd of April, 2013. The camera I had during this Istanbul city trip was still my first compact camera, so excuse the quality of the pictures. I returned to Istanbul in 2014 solo and in 2021 together with Jonas. Istanbul City Trip Background My mother used to take my sister or me on a city tripContinue reading