Thursday, April 20, 2006

Istanbul Review - Day Three

Our third and last day was mostly spent getting to two places. My legs were sore for days after this trip. It's a very walky city. Lots of hills, some of them steep.

Topkapi Palace was a decent walk from our hotel. We otped to walk around a huge wall that apparently used to circle the city. I like old walls around cities. This particular wall is not that pretty, but it would probably keep folks out.

Topkapi is so huge that you could spend the whole day there. However, we just wanted to get a sense of it and we only had the one day left. So we skipped the kitchen. We went straight to the Treasury, which I could have done with a quick swing through. However, the crowds were sort of wild. Not unbearable, but thick and rude. To see what? Another jewel encrusted box?

The Palace is pretty enormous and its grounds are well maintained. It's been out of use as a palace for many years. Now it's a giant museum. We got the audio tour. I always get the audio tour. It's nice to be read to.

The thing I really wanted to see was the Royal Harem. You have to pay a separate admission fee and they only take people in in small groups. Had we known that, we would have beelined to that group of buildings. However, by the time we got there, the next tour was an hour and fifteen minutes away and we were not going to wait. So we'll save that for the next trip to Istanbul, which Fred guesses will be in three to five years.

On the subject of the harem, in the van on the way home, we rode with a family of "posh" Dutch people. Fred hates posh. So the mother said something about the harem and the fact that they were not able to see it either. Then the daughter, probably 25, says, "What's the harem?" The mother says, "It's the place where all the king's women lived." The daughter asked, "Are they still there?"

Fred hates posh - although the accent is a little more understandable.

We then made our way to the Galata Tower. In order to get there, we had to walk across a bridge and walk up a really steep hill. They had an elevator. It was a nice 360 degree view. The tower is very old, of course and apparently has a little dinner and dancing thing going on in the evenings. I can imagine that you'd need to promise folks alcohol to get them there after hours. It's sort of a walk.

On the way back, we passed all the people fishing off the bridge, and we took a few snaps. I will say that it's an easy city to photograph.


Bob said...

OK, HUMBUG , I must be a decadent old Queen, but I prefer to sit in cafes and mingle with the locals over coffee and get a "feel" for the place. (please don't remind me of the feel that I got with my group in that coffee shop in Amsterdam) but you know what I mean. I love supermarkets and drugstores, visting the sites always leaves me cold and usually bored. If need be I do a day trip with a guide and get it done, and usually(sadly) forget most of it. Books and videos give a much more comfortable view of these "must sees". I guess I just like to interact with people in different cultures in their daily lives.

Bob said...

Having just written that post, I fear you and F will never travel with me, but we can, I'll just meet you for dinner after your day of sightseeing.

Anonymous said...

je bent de cisternen vergeten.

Anonymous said...

bob if you want to mingle with the locals in istanbul just pull out your wallet. they will be all over you and you'll have mor interaction than you ever wanted.