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Trip to Turkey September 2004
Friday, September 24, 2004

We had a wonderful Turkish breakfast.

Tom and I decide to have this day to ourselves in Istanbul.  We went to the Topkapi (undotted i - Tope-kop-uh) palace and purchased the additional tickets for the Harem and the Crown Jewels.  We ate a ridiculously expensive unimpressive lunch at Topkapa Palace, but the view was overlooking the Bosphorus. 

entrance to Topkapa palaceinside Topkapa Palace
inside Topkapa Palace but outside the Haremart inside Harem at Topkapa Palace

The Harem was the living quarters of the royal family plus all their closest servants.  It was like a little city inside the Palace gates.  It was worth seeing once, both for the architectural detail and for the insights into a very different way of life.

The Crown Jewels were also worth seeing once.  There were many rooms and a line of people walked the periphery of each room examining each case of various jewels, inset into the wall: jewelry, jeweled weapons, jeweled boxes, carved crystals....  I was walking by a case with my mind on overload, not really noticing what I was seeing, when a woman behind me said "See? 'Honi Soit qui Mal y Pense'.  At once I could hear one of my teacher's voices and I realized what I must be passing.  "Does it really say that?" I said.  "Of course" she answered.  I sat on the cushion in the middle of the room and waited until the crowd thinned so that I could get a better look at the garter.  It was blue and white with a buckle and jewels.  The words were embroidered.  The material looked like silk.  The plaque next to the case told of the time when the regalia of the Order of the Garter was presented to the Sultan of Turkey, a concept which totally confused me and some day I hope to hear the full story.  Well, if it hadn't been there at Topkapa Palace, I don't know when I might have seen one otherwise.

We decided to return to the spice market (on foot, of course), but when we approached the Grand Bazaar, it was closing.  We walked through quickly, a little disappointed that we had not gotten a chance to do more real shopping there.  So we walked back to the Arista Bazaar and sat at an outdoor cafe table, and watched a performance of traditional music (a drum and a saz) and a whirling dervish while we drank Turkish coffee and smoked a Nargila.

Tom smoking nargile
Tom smoking nargile
Turkish lira and coins

Saturday, September 25, 2004

We had our last authentic wonderful Turkish breakfast.  Brought down our luggage and packed ourselves into a taxi for another wild ride to the airport and then the plane ride back to the USA.

fabric handicrafts
metal and clay handicrafts
our kilim at home

Created:  November 15, 2004
Updated:  November 21, 2004
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