Saturday, January 4, 2014

To Istanbul, Dolmabahce Palace, Grand Bazaar, Galata Bridge

On the way to Istanbul (Friday) we stopped for a break and a bite to eat.  Johanna and Sam ordered Tekirdag kofte. The rest of us had soup.  Kofte comes in many shapes and flavours vary from restaurant to restaurant.

This restaurant had good food; it was clean, well built, and had spotless bathrooms.

The view from our hotel room. I don't think I've ever seen blue sky in Istanbul.  If it isn't fog, it's smog. We left the hotel about 9:30 a.m. Saturday and split the day between Dolmabahce, the Bazaar and Galata Bridge.

This is the clock tower outside the Dolmabahce Palace gates.

Palace gates.  The palace was built in the European fashion by European tradesmen for the Sultan about 150 years ago.

Hoof prints in the marble at the entrance perhaps so the horses have traction?
Waiting in line - everyone must wear shoe covers to protect the floors in the Palace.

Waiting for mom outside the palace.

Fountain looking back toward the gate.

Outside after our 50 minute guided tour of the palace.  On the way to the tour of the harem.  No pictures allowed inside - I think we were the only people who actually obeyed this instruction.

These gates lead to boat dock.

Cam and I.

Bamboo growing in the Harem garden.

You can touch the bamboo ... but not the things inside the palace.

Clock museum in the background.  Johanna really wanted to go but of course it was closed. 

We could tell it was closed because all the doors were tied shut with what looked like binder twine.

There was an aviary on the grounds.  Chickens are weird.

In the garden.

Fountain in the harem garden.

Foot sore

What you can't see is the peacock paparazzi surrounding this fellow! Tourists hmm!

Cast and wrought iron.

More Big Doors

The Sea Gate

Looking at one end of the enormous palace from the sea gate.

Johanna and Sam at the main gate.


Taking a break in the Grand Bazaar.

Johanna likes Turkish coffee - especially when it is served the traditional way with chocolate and a glass of water.

The Grand Bazaar: a covered market (mall) constructed in the 1400's.  Shop owners pay their rent in gold.

More Grand Bazaar - See the TV Screen and the sign for Polis?


Shops selling gold.

 After Domabahce Palace and the Grand Bazaar we walked to Galata Bridge. The Bridge has two levels; on top is a road and sidewalks, below are restaurants catering to tourists. While I was standing by the railing on the lower deck this boat pulled up.

Then a man zipped out from the restaurant and met the man from the boat who was carrying a tray full of dirty dishes.  They made the exchange over the railing and boat the pulled away. 

In the restaurant you can choose a fish.  They weigh it at your table and give you a price.
We ordered the fish baked in salt. Cam had seen this or heard of it somewhere, but we'd never been to a place that would prepare it.  Turns out the whole fish is stuffed (parsley, herbs, mushrooms, onions), and wrapped in foil. The foil wrapped fish is covered in salt, which the waiter had to use a chisel and hammer to dislodge.

Then they carefully removed the fish bones and served us all a morsel.  It was delicious.

Yeni Cami (New Mosque - built in the 1400's) with the new moon over head from Galata Bridge.

Back at the hotel Cam took the kids to the "pub" to play chess.

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