If we wasted any time in Istanbul, it was in gawking…here…there…everywhere we looked was a feast for the eyes. Therefore, you will find in this post another series of photos with little rhyme or reason…just impressions…and some things that caught my eye.
Since the Blue Mosque was right next door (we had an up-close view from our hotel window), we went there first. That was also our first experience with a handsome “nephew” of a rug seller.
We weren’t 10 steps from the hotel when he engaged us in conversation. “I’m not a guide,” he assured us, “I am just trying to help you see this beautiful mosque.”
In full knowledge that we were being suckered into a visit to his uncles shop, we went along with him. He spoke perfect English and it was fun to see him in action…until he grabbed us and cut to the front of a HUGE line of people waiting to enter the mosque.
“No,” I said, “we can’t cut.”
“Yes, come with me,” he thrust plastic bags at us and draped a scarf over my shoulder, gesturing for me to put it on.* “These are all tours. You are only two people.” A guard nodded us through.
Not true! And it would have created a real stir to fight our way back through the crowds…and so we entered this impressive place of worship. I couldn’t bring myself to snap photos. I have my memories. And I paid the price of a sales spiel from the rug seller who was disgusted to know that I have rugs from Greece in my house.
Next stop, Topkapi Palace.
This is not merely an edifice. It is a lovely green oasis with many buildings, all containing intricate mosaics and gold on the gold. From the cluster of buildings housing sarcophagi to the well-guarded museum of weapons to the Imperial Harem, the splendor goes on and on.
Within an hour I needed to clean my memory card* in order to allow more information to enter my brain.
The problem in Istanbul is not in finding something to do, it is in winnowing through the opportunities to get a snapshot of this beautiful city in a just a few days.
The Spice Market was our introduction to Turkish Delight, a specific delicacy that we planned to bring home and devoured within a few hours. I had the opportunity to look at and smell the most rare of saffrons.
Yes, Istanbul is a feast for all of the senses.
*I tend to be a saver. Although I have downloaded my photos to three separate computers, I can still my grandson’s high school graduation. (He’s a junior in college.) Many times on this trip I had to delete photos from my cards in order to take more pictures.