You can actually pose together & take pictures with the guards!
When doing my research for this trip, Dolmabahce is one of the place that really excites me (15 Lira). Rich and opulent, it looked like a mini Versailles. Queue was very long and moved studderly due to tour group guides kept entering the ticket booth directly to buy bulks. Seems like they don't have to queue at all! We only took the Selamlik tour as per recommendation from the forum that the Harem tour is not really worth it.
When we got inside, my tripod was taken away to the cloak room (free of charge). There's a courtyard inside and it just feel like visiting a very rich friend. It doesn't really strikes me as a palace ( well maybe because in my mind, palaces and castles are those that look like the ones in Disneyland ha ha).
You have to put on these red thin plastics to cover your shoes, which I understand why. To keep the carpets clean, ok. Fine. Then you have to wait for your tour batch to start.
But what I don't get it the fact that they don't allow you to take pictures at all inside! No flash is understandable, but NO freakin picture at all is just..... "Interesting". And they really put guards here and there that snapped at you everytime someone try to sneak few snaps. For someone who likes photography like me, its just heartbreaking to see all of these cool chandeliers, and crystals without being able to shoot. The guide just loudly say, if you want pictures, just buy postcards from our souvenir shops *sigh.....*
But all emotion aside, I think Dolmabahce is worth the visit. The craftmanship, the lifestyle, all really reflects the opulence life the soultans had before.
Afterwards (as we are muslims) we went to the mosque just outside Dolmabahce to pray. Surprise, surprise! The little mosque had similar mosaics and bacharat crystal chandeliers! AND, no ban on photography. Great!
Afterwards we walked to Ciragan Palace which now have been converted to Kempinski hotel. Didn't see the inside. Just few snaps from outside and continue our long march to the Yildiz Park (free).
We intentionally went to the park hoping to see some Tulips fiesta. But when we were there, it’s just green and many of the tulips haven't bloom yet. I try asking one of the passerbies. She couldn't speak English but would not let us go. She took out her cellphone and called her brother who helped to interpret our questions! How nice! We ended up going home afterwards as it started to rain, getting dark and no signs of tulips. Owh really hoped for a miracle and sea of tulips on our last leg (7 days more)
Originally we were planning to go to Ortakoy. But as its raining, our legs soared, and all mosques in Istanbul started to look very similar to one another - we decided to call it a day and just take some rest.
If I could do anything differently that day, I would’ve taken a bus from Dolmabahce to Ciragan and Yildiz Park instead of walking. Zzzzzz........
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