Palaces and mosques and ice cream

Yes it was that kind of a day!  Wow am I tired - I left the hotel at 8:30 and came back at 3:30.   Well just saying that sounds kind of pathetic as in the "old days" I wouldn't have been back until 6 or even later..ah well...old age sucks but the alternative sucks even more....

They provide a buffet breakfast here at the hotel so I had some scrambled eggs, goat cheese on bread, some yogurt and that was about it.  The selection was quite extensive so I will take better advantage of it tomorrow.  I just wasn't hungry - me, not hungry?  I know strange isn't it.  I think I felt a bit overwhelmed and I am not sure why as I have certainly been in more exotic locales...

I got the front desk person to mark the hotel on my map and off I went...first stop was the park beside the Topkapi palace called Gulhane park.  It was lovely...



The Topkapi palace opened at 9 so a couple of minutes before I headed over there...the line to get tickets wasn't too long (it was horrible when I left) and I was soon wandering around.  I stayed there for three and a half hours and still didn't see everything however I saw everything I wanted to including the harem.   Topkapi palace was built in 1459 to 1465 and was the seat of government until the 16th century - it was opened to the public in 1924.  During their 470 year reign the Ottoman Sultans amassed many treasures and they are on display at the palace.  The outside buildings aren't as impressive as the interiors.  The treasury was beautiful however no photographs were allowed.  Here are some of the highlights:


 

 


 
 
This is just a tiny bit as I just don't have the time or strong wifi to upload a lot of photos or talk about it in great detail.  When I am home and wishing I was back on the road I plan to go into detail with photos of some of the places I have visited and this will be one.  Just trust me...it was amazing....the harem was interesting as well....
 
 
A short walk away was Haiga Sophia (I was accompanied by a young man who insisted he wasn'ta tour guide but wanted me to visit his shop - can you believe he was waiting for me when I came out of the museum...I told him to sling his hook but in a very nice Canadian way) ...this is over 1400 years old...once a Christian church the Ottomans converted it to a mosque in 1453. It is now a museum.  It retains some Christian aspects and has tiles of Jesus and Mary...it was fantastic.  And huge! 
 
 





Last but certainly not least was the Blue Mosque - I think we've all heard of that one haven't we.  It was as beautiful and magical as I envisioned...sadly the sun was the wrong way for me to get a full on shot but I did manage to get a couple of nice different ones...I had forgotten my scarf in the room so luckily they loan out scarves for women to wear. 






I need to go back so I can photograph it in proper light....it is so beautiful....

I was awfully tired by then and my back was giving me grief so I headed back..but not before having an ice cream cone....I couldn't make up my mind so had all four of the flavours.  And yes the fellow selling ice cream was flipping it around - I had to record it of course!!! 


That was a small! 

After a rest I ventured out for a meal (had chicken kebab which was okay...) and sampled some Ottoman tea...I must buy some!!!  Apparently they will pack it into sealed plastic containers so I can enjoy it back home and think of my time in Turkey while sipping it on my balcony. So on my return to Istanbul at the end of my tour I think I will be racing around buying last minute items like that...shops are open until 11 p.m. so it shouldn't be a problem!  The sweets here are unbelieveable...that's all I am sayin' ...well they look good I can't say I've gotten into them yet...the ice cream was my only sweet today.  (though Turkish airlines did give a piece of Turkish delight  yesterday and they were available at breakfast today...yes at breakfast!)

Tomorrow?  I am going to work up the courage to go to the Grand Bazaar..me thinks it will be a big overwhelming and I hate pushing sales people and that place will be full of them...and hopefully a ferry across the Bosphorous and a visit to the New Mosque. 

 

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