Istanbul Day 2

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October 14th 2012
Published: October 14th 2012
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Today I did more Rick Steves' walks. Early this morning I started out on the waterfront and it was interesting to see the commercial fishermen with their catch displayed for sale. One knew it was fresh because some of the fish were still swimming around in large buckets! I walked across the Galata Bridge, taking in the sights, sounds, and smells including the many casual fishermen who were dangling a line off the side of the bridge. (See picture) As I walked, I listened to Rick's commentary on the Golden Horn and Istanbul's important location on the Bosphorous between the Black Sea in the Mediterranean. I stopped at a street vendor and bought a "simit" which is a circular bread, somewhat smaller than a bagel. I chose one with sesame seeds, which I believe is traditional, and found it quite tasty. I stopped at the Istanbul train station, famous as the endpoint of the Orient Express. Then I went on to the Archaeology Museum and was pleased to see the items mentioned in Rick's tour there. I was also gratified to see a section of the great chain that the Byzantines used off lock entry to the Golden Horn (their harbor)
when they were under siege. (See picture) I think that the last time it was used was in 1453, so it is somewhat surprising that sections of it are still around. (In fact, I believe at least two other museums in Istanbul also have sections of the chain.) The archaeology museum has a very pleasant outdoor café and I sat there for lunch today. I had another Turkish coffee and, again, I was a little disappointed. I expected it to be strong and pack a powerful caffeine punch. Neither of these things were the case. Perhaps museum Turkish coffee (the only time I have had so far) is not the same as real Turkish coffee. After lunch I visited Topkapi Palace. I was less impressed than I expected to be. Several sections were closed for renovation, so I didn't get to see the sultans' Turkish bath nor the hair from Muhammad's beard. However, I did see parts of the harem (see picture) and the famous Topkapi dagger, which is much more impressive in person than in the Peter Ustinov film. (No photos allowed) Perhaps the best feature of the palace is the view. The sultans situated their palace with fine
views of the busy Bosphorous strait. (See picture) I intend to spend some time out on the Bosporus, perhaps even taking a trip up to the Black Sea, but that will have to wait for another day!

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