Sunday, February 20, 2011

the glamourous life...Istanbul

quick notes...I have a few minutes before we go off to hunt for dinner..!!!
AAHHHHHhhhh. The Spice Bazaar! Sweets and dried fruit and nuts and perfume and... spices...
A date and some pistachio nuts!

Have you every been in a Turkish Bath?
I forgot to mention the Turkish Bath the other day... wow. (no Photos,as you can well imagine) Invigorating relaxation. A steamy marble room to sweat, then a fellow simply dressed in a thin towel begins with the vigorous skin peeling, a soap bubble wash, a massage.and then one sits on the side by huge sinks and water is poured over. Then you sit for a while in a little cubicle with a divan drinking tea. For the next few days, you will find yourself so in love with your smooth skin. Luxury.

Mosques and palaces... I got to say this great line aloud... 'I will meet you at the Dolmabahche palace gate at 3.'

No photos in that palace. But it has literally tons of chandeliers, one of them is 4 tons of crystals...
The trams, the underground metro, cabs walking..
Constantine, sultans... these cobble stone streets are deep in history.

These geometric designs are based in the perfect circle. Today's images are all from the Toplapi Palace.
The drapes had gold plates of jewels..
...where did I leave those earrings? (a whole new twist on the I saw it in the window and just couldn't resist.)

The crowds of Taksim Square. Birds and cats and dogs.
The men calling out by the carts on the street selling... everything.The astounding blue of the Bosphorus. The colors of Ottoman reds. Pearls the size of a thumb. 82 karat diamonds. Emeralds and rubies. The patterns in the tile work.
It is simply exotically exquisite.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

the glamourous life...Istanbul heaven

Although most of the following images concern food and that may make it seem like eating is the predominant activity, there really are so very many other things to see and do than eat, so we have heard.

Here is the breakfast included with the room....

cheese, eggs, olives, yogurt, borek...cheese or spinach, or olives or..filled homemade phyllo pastry, juices, toast

Yesterday was a cloudy cool 5 Celsius. We went to the Archeological Museum for a four hour stroll through three thousand years or more of history...
carved stone base of an ancient column..

Then we went for dinner ...pistachio lamb kebabs, saladarama, the sesame covered airfilled flat bread with feta... raki, which is the anise flavored liquor, and coffee. The owner of the restaurant came over to give the recipe for the kebabs and tips on how to make them. It was all very jolly, as moment are directly after shots of liquor. Then we toddled off to the nargile rooms to inhale apple tobacco. Alice in Wonderland. The live music is drums and the kannone. And Loreena McKennit music while the band took a break!

The day before... the Bosphorus Cruise to the Black Sea

This was a day trip to a village on the Black Sea. The boat trip was the event. I could still feel the motion hours later.

Here we go... Valentine's Day. Which happens to also be the Prophet Mohammed's Birthday...

We went over to the Asian side of Istanbul because the front desk woman said it would be crazy busy in the historical section.
Here is... the fish market. On the other camera there are some pretty fabulous fish pictures ...ahhh so much food, so little room in the tum...

the fresh vegetables and


The best place in the asian side to get kebabs... Ciya

This is mulberry juice!

And here is your Valentines gift... flowers!

And gorgeous chocolate. The usual considerately low cal ones... Love or WhAT?!

Thank you everyone for your interactive comments! HEARTS!

oh ya,the carpet isn't the more expensive flying version. We already have the return tickets on the plane. And it is so convoluted to get the international airspace licensing you know.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

the glamourous life...Istanbul

Walk and walk and walk. The feast is for the eyes...St Sophia cathedral, the GRAND BAZAAR, dinner at the fish restaurant...
I went to bed (what a live wire that one is),Elgar and Len went to the live entertainment nargile(hookah) evening.

Really really really it is amazing. This mornings call to prayer was an outstanding voice.

The head of the blue fish is, apparently delicious.

The Grand Bazaar is miles and miles of shops. Jewelry, leather, fabrics (oh my word)
carpets, food, antiques. We were only there for three hours and covered a small,small area of it.

Aya Sophya

This is not just a regular cat. This is a diplocat... this cat has greeted and been petted by President Obama. The cat, said nothing just smiled politely.

Tooo amazing...more cathedral


I should mention... pomegranates are in season. Fresh pomegranate juice mixed with orange. OMG.
Nougat, when it is fresh, is actually like a thick marshmallowy thing. With pistachios. Halvah fresh is ... I shall stop with the odious comparisons.
stuffed grape leaves... borek....kebabs... Heaven.

Friday, February 11, 2011

the glamourous life...Istanbul

When I opened my eyes this morning...this is what I saw. Life, my sweet, is good. Earlier, before I opened my eyes, the muezzine called for a prayerful moment.

This hotel is, obviously, right in the midst of the historical Istanbul. Turkish breakfast is taken on the top floor that has a terrace overlooking the Marmar Sea on one side and the Mosques, Blue and White and AyaSofia and and and...the bazaar.
It is not the high tourist season. So many things to tell already and it is the first, take it easy day... (breakfst is an array of items, the yogurt is delicious, homemade sour cherry jam, cheeses, bread...Oh and dinner last night... MAN!!!

The Blue Mosque

Some of the bluetiles on the inside of the Blue Mosque. The architectural shenanigans of this building bring one to tears.. beauty

A fellow pops up to explain the sites... he waits for us after we walk through the mosque.. then brings us though the gardens and off over to this area and that and then...well here we are at the carpet shop!!! The salesmanship here is superb! (we are not buying a carpet for heaven's sake.) It is a family business. It is destiny that has brought you to me. You will buy only the piece of art, history and imagination, the good feeling of a young woman poured into the work for years.. (seriously, we aren't buying a carpet) it is impossible for two carpets to ever be the same... it is never about profit it is about making good connections...

So... what do you think of the new carpet?

The two beheaded snake, wroght iron, and the obalisk from Egypt that is the marker of the ancient hippodrome.

Medusa holding the column.

This is a whole entertaining story... have your fortune read by the rooster or the rabbit... Mine was a warning not to spend money foolishly. (Snort, guffaw... )

The byzantine cistern.. this is also where Medusa's head is found holding up the column.