Journey’s Last Leg…

It’s Monday morning and it’s difficult to believe that we will be back in South Jersey tomorrow.  Four weeks can be a short time.  We must be in the hostel lobby with our bags by 10:15AM to be ready for the shuttle to the airport.  For some unknown reason, the shuttle costs nothing.  Nothing, in Istanbul?  I’m confused.  Where the simple act of crossing the street is something to be negotiated here, am I supposed to negotiate this free shuttle?  Should I propose to Can that he pay me 5 TL to ride on the shuttle?

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Istanbul, our last day!

This is our last full day in Istanbul.  Where did the time go?  I hope we get the chance to return someday and make a trip to Ephesus (Efis, in Turkish).  Today we are going to the Spice Market and the small streets with the vendors in the area around there.  Next, we will go to the Archaeology Museum next to Topkapi Palace.  Then, if we have time, I would like to go back to the Blue Mosque and try to get better photos inside during daylight.

We find our way to the Spice Market, which is large but no where near as big as the Grand Bazaar.  There is the same variety of stores, but there are lots of stores specializing in spices, saffron, and various Turkish Delights.  Judie must not be totally awake because she doesn’t show an interest in buying anything.  I, on the other hand, am on a mission to find a leather black belt.  Continue reading

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Saturday, Oct. 23rd in Istanbul


Typically, breakfast is a slice of honey dew, olives, bread, soft boiled egg, and tea or coffee.  This morning I get a special treat of eggs and sausage.  Judie is still sleeping.  The eggs are a cross between over-easy and scrambled.  The sausage is little slices of salami-ish cuts.  Nothing I ever heard of, but a good  change.

My goal for this morning is to find the correct metro, be able to purchase the token, find the funicular, make my way up to the Times Square of Istanbul – Taksim Square, return by walking down lively Istiklal Caddesi, and find my way back home.  Judie is totally wiped out and has chosen to stay in our room and sleep away the morning. Continue reading

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Friday, Holy Day in Istanbul…

I awake feeling fine with no after effects of last night’s conversation with the porcelain bowl.  Judie is keeping her bladder problems away, thanks to Dr. Radka’s elixirs.  This is Hasan’s last day with us before he takes the 5-hour bus ride back to his university in Ankara tomorrow.  Judie and I have to pinch ourselves to be sure we are not dreaming that we are in Istanbul, and we are here because of our friend, Hasan.

Today’s plan is to go to Topkapi Palace and then a cruise to Asia.  Can we be this close to a continent we have never visited and never will unless we make this short trip?  As you may recall, part of Istanbul is in Europe and part in Asia with the rest of Turkey.

Topkapi Palace (Topkapi Sarayi) – Fodor’s:  Astride the promontory of Sultan Point – “the very tip of Europe” – Topkapi Sarayi has lorded over Istanbul for more than 400 years.  As much a self-contained town-within-a-town as a gigantic palace, this sprawling complex perches over The Bosphorus and was the residence and center of bloodshed and drama for the Ottoman rulers from the 1450s to the 1850s.  At one time home to some 5,000 residents – including a veritable army of slaves and concubines – Topkapi was also the treasure house to which marauding sultans brought back marvels from centuries of conquest, ranging from the world’s seventh largest diamond to the greatly revered Mantle of the Prophet Muhammad…  However, as privileged as it was, Topkapi was rarely peaceful.  Historians now recount horrifying tales of strangled princes, enslaved harem women, and power-mad eunuchs. Continue reading

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Istanbul on Thursday…

At 6AM daily is the first call to prayer of the day, over the loudspeakers at every mosque.  Loudspeakers again.  Sometimes they wake me, sometimes they don’t.  On this day they do, so I get to hear not one, not two, not three, but calls from four mosques.  [Note:  I don’t know all of the correct terminology, so I ask my Muslim brothers to please forgive me if I say something incorrectly.]  Since people are people, I have to believe that each “announcer” wants to out-do the other mosque, or mosques.  Really, wouldn’t you want to be the best, the loudest, the most lyrical?  It sounded almost like a “call and response” in an African-American church, but not lasting nearly as long!  But, hey, at 6AM, the 20 minutes of whatever they call it is more than enough for me.  I turn over and go back to sleep.

Today we plan to start by taking a cruise north up The Bosphorus, but first I want to tell you about the traffic, both motor and pedestrian, in Istanbul.  I have taken many photos of the narrow, crowded roads, lined with vendors selling their wares.  That doesn’t mean they don’t have roads and highways like we do, but they just don’t make interesting photos.  Continue reading

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When I learned that I could include videos to my blog I upgraded to Videopress, but my first few times of trying to add videos failed miserably.  Was it me, my netbook, or was it Videopress?  Their tech support wasn’t very supportive and, somehow, the process I was following to add videos, the process that didn’t work, suddenly it starts working.  So I have added a video to “Sunday in Dolni Roven” and edited my narrative.  Scroll down and check it out if you wish!

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Wednesday, Oct. 20th in Istanbul…

On our 1st full day in Istanbul, I go up 3 floors of narrow, spiral stairs to the rooftop area for breakfast.  In this case”rooftop” is just an enclosed area with tables and chairs, couches, 2 computers for guests to use, a small pool table up against the wall (how do you shoot from that side?),  and a so-so view of the city.

Istanbul – let me give you a little information on how Istanbul is laid out.  Continue reading

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