People don’t take trips – trips take people. – John Steinbeck
There are many things an iPad is good for, tasks that are easier to perform on an iPad than on a bulky PC such as reading Kindle books and surfing the web and keeping in touch with friends via Facebook. One of the things the iPad is a wordprocessor substititute for my blog. Writing my blog is not a problem because I purchased an keyboard that doubles as a cover to protect the screen while it jigges in my backpack next to my cameras and assorted items necessary for recording my travel experiences. The big problem I encounter is that I cannot move my pictures from my Canon cameras to my iPad for inclusion in my blog.
For me, pictures accent the written word thus are a valuable addition to expressing my experiences. So, I guess, a laptop purchase is in my future. Today’s first stop was Topkapi Palace, a very large, architecturally significant historic site just walking distance from our hotel. (Actually, anything can be walking distance when depending upon how long one desires to walk or on how far one underestimates the distance to get some place and refuses to part with cab fair because the destination must be just around the next bend in the road). We left to be there by opening time and beat the crowds but it seemed many others had the same idea and we had to wait in a few lines.
Upon entry to the Palace, we headed over to the harem, the place where the Sultan’s housed their many wives. Personally, I can’t think of why anyone would suffer more than one wife at any given time aside from a wide selection to satisfy the nuances of lust on any given day. From the layout, it seems they sultan was isolated from the harem allowing him relative domestic bliss.
While we were able to visit the harem with relative easy flow of movement, the remainder of palace became quite crowded and exhibits like the jewelry rooms required suffering long queues. We headed back to the hotel to check on our luggage to no avail. The promise of a drop off by 10 am did not happen, unless 10:00 am is written as 3:00 pm. We couldn’t wait because we had plans to meet a local near the new palace for a half day tour of Istanbul outside the tourist peninsula. This is where the long walk came in.
My best estimate is that we walked more than 5 miles because the destination was just ahead….again and again and again. We met Turksan and the local tour began. Having walked so many miles, it was nice to sit in an air conditioned car and relax while he gave us both the history of his country and a picture of life, joys and challenges, in modern Turkey. With him as our guide, we were able to visit all three of the local peninsulas traveling through both Europe and Asia.
Turksan was a great guide. He took a 1/2 day off of work at the behest of a Turkish friend I have in the US to take us on the tour. He was very personable and hospitable which, I am told, are traits the Turks exhibit to their guests. Turksan was the embodiment of hospitality. Sitting in uncrowded, local squares/plazas with contemplative views of the Bosphorous River, eating local sweets, and drinking Chai (Turkish Tea) or Turkish Coffee (mud like consistency with a bitter taste in my opinion) was a much needed relief from being continually accosted by vendors.
Of the most spectacular views, was looking across the Bosphorous to see the many amazing mosques in the distance. They dominated the view but not in a grotesque, garish, Disneyland way. Rather, they fit with the contours of the terrain with opulent, dignity. We were treated to dinner on the top floor or a restaurant high on a hill that gave a lovely view of the area, the mosques, the skylines, the brides, the river. As has been the case everywhere, the food was outstanding. We had a traditional Ottoman meal, lots of meat, (meat means lamb not chicken), yogurt, sauces, vegetables. This is faire I could feast on the rest of my life and be very, very happy.
The evening ended with a Ferry ride from the East to the West and Turksan driving us right to the door of our hotel. We thanked him profusely, exchanged pleasantries before calling it an evening. We had hoped to hit the bed early for the next day, we had a 7:00 am flight to Nevsehir, but, due to the glee of finally getting our luggage and a quick trip to a gift shop, sleep came a couple of hours later than planned.