Istanbul Sunday May 12, 1996
Got up at 6am and breakfast was not until 7am so I had to kill some time but still got to the roof restaurant a little early. (in all the days I was the first and usually the only one there; one day a member of the staff came in after I did.) Tea, strong and good, and breads; There was a view of the Sea of Marmara from hotel dining room: wide verdant hills and freighters all around.
Since it was Sunday I had thought of going to the Greek or Armenian patriarchate for Mass, but I knew the Greek church was relatively far; the Armenian might be closer but I couldn't locate it. Later realized I was vaguely near it, since I was in Yenikapi and it was in Kumkapi, the next section along the Marmara heading to Topkapi Point.
I had been advised by the guide and the receptionist to take a taxi to "Constantinople" but I wanted to walk and the distance seemed reasonable. I was going to walk all the 4 miles or so, if necessary, but would try to walk to what looked like the new "tram" or the under-construction subway. Walked to near the Beyazit Mosque and bought ticket from the kiosk on the far side of the tracks. I took the (always) crowded tram towards Hagia Sofia which I planned to be the start and grand entrance to the trip. Bbut on the way saw the Hippodrome from the trolley window and got off.
It was very quiet, in fact the tourist area was the quietest part of the city I ever came across; at least it was at 8am in the morning on a Sunday. Most sites were not yet officially open and I had several places all to myself. I alternated between the German Polyglott and the English language Essential Istanbul guides for all the sights.
I looked at the three columns, basically in the middle long narrow "infield" of the Hippodrome, the ones with the scenes of the emperor in the royal box for the games. There is probably more but these three were all that I could see, except for the space of the Hippodrome. Nothing that I saw (but I suspect I could have looked harder) was left of the walls or seating. Now appears as a park and at this time of day was quiet.