Istanbul Day Two
Istanbul Travel Blog› entry 4 of 10 › view all entries
March 25th, 2001 – by: etoile
We slept even later the next morning, and really had to rush. Our first stop was the Kariye Müzesi (Museum), originally the Chora Church, which has mosaics and frescoes depicting the life cycles of Mary and Jesus. I liked them from an artistic viewpoint, but our guide spent a really long time going through the Greek Orthodox details, so I got a bit bored. From there we got back on the bus and rode over to the Süleymaniye Mosque. We had to remove our shoes there, and cover our hair. We had lunch at Darüzziyafe, a restaurant inside what used to be the kitchens for the mosque - the Sultan had run a twice-daily soup kitchen there for the poor. On our way back to the bus, we spotted a little gray cat and called it over. It was very sweet as I was petting it, but when my girlfriend pulled some salami from her purse (we’d wished we could feed the strays we saw the day before, so she took a small piece of meat at breakfast) it turned into quite the hellcat! It nearly bit her finger in its eagerness to grab the meat, and it meowed loudly while waving an arm at us. We hurried back to the bus, and the cat returned to begging from patrons of a nearby sidewalk cafe. Our final stop of the touring day was Dolmabahçe Sarayi. It’s huge and revoltingly ostentatious; the goal was to stuff it with the most grand items possible, right down to gold leaf on the radiators when central heating was installed. The palace is supposed to be more Western-styled than Topkapi and other Istanbul palaces (others include Çiragan, Yildiz, Beylerbeyi, and Küçük Su, all built in the 19th century); it is that, but the sultan went bankrupt building it. Our tour guide through the palace was very enthusiastic and knew her subject well, but her accent was very thick and at times difficult to understand (but still better than my Turkish). We rested for a while back at the hotel, and went for a short swim. I wrote up some postcards for friends, and we had Chinese food for dinner before going to bed.
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