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NNs Adventures We have traveled over the years but will be retiring in 2017 and want to spend more time traveling the world. We've been to Turkey, Sri Lanka, Africa twice and a number of trips to Europe and St Lucia. Kathleen/Thom Ennen

Day 3 - Istanbul

TURKEY | Saturday, 14 November 2015 | Views [167]

We ended up having a slower start today. Maybe from all the walking it was time to rest a bit. Wednesday was 22,500 step day and Thursday was 23,000+. Tired feet.

We wandered down the hill to get the T1 tram back into Sultehamet to see the Topkapi Palace. It’s an enormous palace of a number of sultans over hundreds of years. The grounds encompassed four very large courts, with gardens and large trees, large dining and kitchen buildings, and the complex of the living quarters- the Haman, was comprised of a large number of rooms. They housed the eunuch’s dormitories, the eunichs protected the concubines, the wives had their special places as did the Queen Mother, wife #1. The spaces were tremendously ornate and tiled from floor to ceiling, many with very ornate large fireplaces. The palace is on the top of a high hill with great views of the Bosporus.  

One of the many buildings on the grounds displayed armaments and armor, including bows, arrows, and quivers, pistols, swords of all shapes and lengths, rifles, very long rifles, many types of armor, even that for the horses, and all extremely ornate, and some studded with precious stones. I was truly awed by the sword that was bright silver, looking like stainless steel, though not knowing what it was made of; it was longer than I am tall. I don’t know how it could have been used, in battle or otherwise. It looked extremely heavy but the weight wasn’t listed on the info card.

After a few hours at the Palace, we wandered towards the grand bazaar to see what we could see. Thom always “captures” a flag when we travel but we weren’t sure where we’d find one. Of course the Grand Bazaar probably has anything and everything and it wasn’t that long before we saw a vendor who happened to have flags in 3-4 sizes. Now we have Turkey to add to Sri Lanka, St Lucia, St Vincent and Panama.  The bazaars in Istanbul are amazing and overwhelming.

After finding the flag we went to find the ancient Valide Han. We wandered for some time through what could be called the garment district and ultimately using gps to get oriented and going in the right direction. It’s a 350 year old building, housing small manufacturing suites on the second floor above the shops. It’s rectangular shaped with a large courtyard. We’d been advised to find it, which wasn’t easy!!! And find the way to the roof where the building caretaker welcomes you and you offer a tip to climb the stairs up. The views are amazing!!! We spent some time resting and admiring, along with a number of other people, many who were saying they were to stay until sunset. It’s a weird place with the domes from the vaulted ceilings below and old roofing materials. With nothing to keep anyone who might stumbling from falling off. When coming down and transiting the hallway to the stairs down, it was extremely dark and the flooring was very uneven. It was not a place you’d want to trip, slip, or fall!!

We then went back to the spice bazaar to buy some honey for the flat, as we’d been using what was here. We also got some other stuff – including some special looking pastrami and local white cheese for breakfast Saturday.  We headed out to find another old but curious mosque, the Rustempasha, which is unique as it’s on the second floor above the shops. It’s known for its extensive tiles and mosaics. As the light was fairly dim it was hard to fully appreciate the enormity of the tiled surfaces.

We wandered off, now that we were close to the waterfront. We had a beer under the Galata Bridge before embarking on another line of the Istanbul metro system. At Karakoy there is a very deep metro that goes up towards Taksim. To get to it you go down 3 very long escalators. It’s a 3 minute ride where you change to another line that goes to Taksim. We spent as much time walking down to the first train as it took to travel the distance to Taksim!

We found a place on the street for a wonderful dinner of several plates before walking the 10min down the hill to our flat.

We’ve been having a great time!!!! It’s been a wonderful adventure.

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