Topkapi Palace & Grand Bazaar
Trip Start Feb 23, 2008
104Trip End Jun 05, 2008
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The Harem on the left hand side opened at 10am so i made my way over and bought a ticket - it was perfect timing as there was hardly anyone around at all. The first place I came to was the Courtyard of the Black Eunuchs with its rock laid path. This lead to the main gate where the sultans family and the concubines were separated. There is a beautiful gold mirror here and the hall leads to the Concubines and Consorts Courtyard
Back outside I proceeded through the Gate of Felicity - if you made it through this gate back in the day you had made it into the residential area of the Palace. I went to the Treasury area which houses all the good stuff - 2 things of particular interest, the Topkapi dagger which is a curved shaped knife with 3 huge emeralds. The second is the spoonmakers diamond, its called this because it was found in a rubbish dump and was subsequently sold for 3 spoons..! Its 86 carats, tear shaped and stunning.... there was a bunch of schoolies in here so i took a quick look then went out the back to see the circumcision room ..
After a few more pics of the courtyard and the views over Istanbul I made my way to the Baths of Lady Huram They were build by the sultan for his favourite wife Roxelana and now houses a carpet shop... you can wander around and explore all the little rooms....
I bought another corn cob and picked up my bags and walked the 10 mins to the Hotel Metropol where my tour would start... After dumping my bags I ventured out to find more meat - the place i went to the meat man had his own private room... I had a dish called the Betsi kebab - meatballs rolled up in souvalaki bread... mmmm mmmm.
I needed to walk off my food so I went around to the spice market. I want sure how to get in so it was potluck.. I wandered through the pet shop area and patted all the cute puppies, checking out the ducks and chickens too.... then i found the spice market -- not as smelly as the one in India! I was invited into a carpet shop and chatted to by an Uncle and Cousin who invited me to come and watch him play soccer later... i thanked and politely declined and went wandering up the hill to see another mosque up a steep hill...this was the Sulemaniye Camii -- it was apparently the one to see but it was pretty disappointing as they were renovating inside.
I got a bit lost trying to find the Grand Bazaar - I thought I was somewhere I actually wasn't... eventually I found one of the main entrances and wandered around - the shopping looks amazing and I cant wait until I finish the trip to come back. The bowls in particular are so colourful -- and there are evil eyes everywhere - I think they are going to make a good present for people back home...
I wasn't sure when the group meeting was so I left and caught a tram back to the hotel - I was a bit early so I went to use the internet then made it back to the meeting in time... Everyone seems really good value, 12 Aussies & 2 NZ's... we said our hellos then went for dinner and has more meat... Today had been a long day so after 1 beer i was stuffed and headed for be not long after tea..!