Published: May 31st 2012May 25th 2012
OK ...first comment ... they didn't film the movie here and the dagger is nowhere to be seen. So much for dashed expectations... Audrey Hepburn wasn't here either!
To reach Topkapi Palace I walked from my hotel towards the railroad tracks and veered right.
On the way I saw exquisite hand work crocheted with myriad beads and metal pendants ... prices high, and so they should be for the original ideas and the labour ... could not take a shot because the guy was standing right there.
I had given myself a day to explore the treasures of Topkapithinking it would be vast and much to absorb.
I came upon the back entrance of the Gulhane Garden. Masses of flower flats with marigolds, impatience and tiny begonias were all set out on the ground waiting to be picked up I guess. The day before I had seen men planting begonias along the road and tram line outside the walls of the Topkapi grounds. The tram, the road the sidewalk the green space and the wall are contained in a linear line of no more than the length of a street car. Are there statistics about tram fatalities?
Where could they be found?
Walking thru the park families on picknick blankets, sweethearts on park benches, old ladies selling scarves, old men gossiping, children riding huge squirrels were seen. In a haphazard meandering path the entrance to the Palace was found ... only to have to be abandoned because of the urgent need to find a WC. Luckily I knew where one was and I scurried to attain it! One Turkish lira later the deed was done and the march thru the parked buses in front of Ayasofya brought me back to the Disneyland gates of Topkapi.
The palace is a series of pavilions each one more beautiful than the other. The tiles decorating each are mostly blue with green ones every now and again. The carnation seems a favourite flower. Each pavilion was built by a different Sultan to commemorate a battle or other momentous event. There is the circumcision pavilion and one young man was heard to say: I don't want to go in there”, as if ...
It cost 25 TL to enter the grounds ... and to see the most beautiful part of the palace – The harem - another 15TL was
On the Grounds of the Palace
Roses were resplendent ... along all paths in allcolours
expected. Forget that, I thought ... so many other rooms had also been locked and those treasure rooms opened were so full of kids and adults with audio sets one only got a view from the back anyway. But the jewels and the inlay and the gold and the emeralds and the thrones and the daggers and those things that go on top of Pasha's turban, were outstanding ...from what a short person like I could see ... I stayed behind the kids.
It took quite some time for me to wander thru all the pavilions mainly because there were so many people lined up waiting at each one. The physicians pavilion was locked. The restaurant was open but I could neither afford the time nor the prices
Waiting, pushing thru crowds, taking shots, trying to feel serenity, walking thru the restaurant from to bottom, absorbing the feel of the Sultan's Library and admiring the Bosphorus and the Anatolia side of the city took all day ... a tourist day that is ... 11:00 to 16:30.
Returning to my hotel I stopped to talk to a policeman just to make sure I was on the right street
and he suggested I visit the Basilica Cisterns which just happened to be across the street from the tourist police building ... a yellow wooden structure which has already appeared in a few of my shots. Of course there was a line up! And what was I rushing back to? My friend, Delly the Netbook and a room with no window! So I lined up ... and was glad I did.
This Cistern was also built by the Romans to supply water for the city in ancient times. There are numerous cisterns in Istanbul. The water apparently came from Bulgaria. Of course there were masses of people. All the columns stood in water not like the columns in the other cistern I visited. There was also copious dripping from above resulting in warnings about slippery when wet floors.
The columns are spectacular. The wooden pathways leading into nooks and crannies allow one to see patterned columns, two Medusa heads upside down at the bottom of two columns and huge fish swimming in and around the columns. There was a man with an oversized squiggy attempting to keep the walkways somewhat free of standing water. My immediate question was
to where is he going to squiggy this extremely dirty water? Correct! Right over the edge and onto the fish! Hope no one ever eats these fish. They must surely be overly toxic!
On the way back it rained. I stopped to look into a construction site trying to see if I could cop a tile ... alas.... fence too high... tiles too attached to cement. While pondering this dilemma a man approached and told me that the building had been destroyed because it stood above the cistern. So I am enjoying this info and the attention of the handsome man and of course he turns out to have a carpet shop ... just there ... across the street. Come let me give you my card; have a glass of tea. Now I go into my refusal routine ... by now it is practices and my voiced is as convincing as are his offers.
This is an ill fated blog. Twice I have lost it and once I turned a whole paragraph into huge script.
And the end of this story is that I ate chicken breast with spinach and cheese after taking a shower, reclined in
my chairless, deskless, viewless room and watched turkish TV. The room did have curtains and a window frame with glass but thru the pane there was no view and certainly no city air.
This is being written while riding the train thru the Hungarian countryside ... but I'm getting ahead of myself ... there are still two blogs from Istanbul to write.
There are more photos below