21 September 2003 Sunday - Istanbul - 59 Photos

Last night's dinner show was alright, but I expected more. The food was good, but pretty bland: grilled chicken, rice, some vegetables, etc. The show was good, but also pretty bland. There were two cultural dances, two very good but long belly dances,

and the rest of the night was basically wasted with the main announcer guy singing songs from all the countries who had people in the restaurant, and trying to get the audience to participate. It was fun, but I expected more, so I was a bit disappointed. We didn't get back to our hotel until midnight and I was very tired from the very long day of walking.

This morning we got up early (7:00am). I woke up with a sore throat and my sinuses were a bit clogged, the beginnings of a cold. I ignored it and, after breakfast, took a taxi (favorite Turkish spelling: "Taksi") to another beautiful palace used by the sultans, called "Dolmabahce Palace."

This was much newer than the Topkapi palace, and done in a beautiful European style. This palace reminded me very much of the palace of Versailles in France both inside and out. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take any photos inside. It was huge and very beautiful with dozens of huge crystal chandeliers. Still, we took some pictures of the outside,

fountains and such. This place was way over the top, and I've seen a lot of castles and palaces in my travels.

After the palace tour, we decided to walk to an area of town called Ortakoy,

where it was rumored that local artisans would be displaying and selling their wares. It was a very long walk, and when we got there, it turned out to be mostly beadwork, jewelry, lapidary, necklaces and similar things. Of course, that made Kathy quite happy and occupied because she does beading, but I was very bored the entire time.

After that, we took another "taksi" to an old crusader fortress called “Rumeli Hisari” Or “Rumeli Castle.”

It was very cool, with huge walls and towers.

We walked up and down the fortress walls until the place closed at 5:00pm, and I enjoyed every minute of it.

We took another taxi back to the "Sultanahmet" which is where the Blue Mosque is, and it is near our hotel. Our original plan was to walk directly to the hotel, but the taxi ride let us rest long enough to find more energy, so instead we walked to a small bazaar in back of the Blue Mosque, and did some shopping.

We finally made it back to the hotel, where I am now writing.

Kathy and I had dinner reservations at a seafood restaurant that was recommended to us by the concierge at the hotel. We ordered fish for two, and ate dinner while a traveling band of singers serenaded us for money.

When we got back to the hotel, we packed up our belongings in preparation for tomorrow's flight to Ankara.