Monday, March 1, 2016
We had a very busy day today, our first day in Istanbul. We Saw a lot and had fun. First we visited the Blue Mosque.
There are some stunning mosaics that were covered up when the couch was made a mosque. They have been uncovered again now.
After leaving the Hagia Sophia we stopped for some Turkish coffee and baklava.
Next we bought tickets for the hop on hop off bus tour of Istanbul. We rode the bus over to the Dolmabahçe Palace. It is right on the Bosphorus and was the palace of the sultans from 1856 and 1924 when the Turkish Republic was created. After that Atatürk used the palace sometimes. It is where he died.
They didn't allow us to take pictures inside but the palace had all the original opulant furnishings. The painted ceilings, chandeliers and crystal balusters on one of the staircase were especially stunning.
First we toured the part of the palace used for official purposes and then the family parts of the palace, the harem. In the harem each wife had a seaparate 4 story apartment off the central common rooms.
This is Duke's First trip to Turkey. I was here with my family in 1966 (I think that's the year) when I was 14 years old. I remember how impressed I was with the beauty of Istanbul. On that 1964 trip we took a boat tour on the Bosphorus. Back then there were no bridges from European Istanbul to Asian Istanbul. Now there are two. Our bus tour took us across one of those bridges. It was rush hour so finishing the bus tour loop took a long time. We got to see a lot of the city. Istanbul still impresses me with its beautiful setting and buildings.
And this is desert, figs, oranges, apricots, walnuts and raisins. And of course Turkish coffee.