|Topkapi Palace! Representing Kyrgyzstan!|
Life is good! The first few days in Istanbul, I was acting like a local person, hanging out with new friends and relaxing in the Asian side. It was grand, and then when the work week started up and they all went to work, I decided to play tourist and check out the city. So I've been checking out the European side, doing some of the main touristy things and hearing loads of foreign languages and English. Bit of a change from the mostly Turkish side where I'm living.
Here are some pictures from the Topkapi Palace where the sultans lived for over 400 years. Loads of history here, where at one point the palace was large enough to have 4,000 people living there. It's up on the highest hill around, looking at all main points of entry via water. Quite a wicked view from up there, plus some great treasures from the past. I saw one of the world's largest diamonds (the sultan took it from some people in town who were having a dispute), weaponry from the area (wicked swords and such, plus some English Crusader swords that were easily over 6 feet long) and some clocks. For some reason, I love clocks. I've been to clock museums in New Zealand and Slovakia, and now Turkey. If you have any old, amazing clocks, I am now taking donations.
|Some of the palace grounds. Great landscaping everywhere to go with some sweet buildings|
|Me and the Bosphorus! True Blue!|
After the palace, I checked out the Spice Bazaar, which is similar to the Grand Bazaar from yesterday, just with loads more spices (bet you saw that one coming). Not everything was spices, as they know tourists are there and try to hook you with other products. Pretty sweet stuff where you have to bargain. It's part of the culture here (as well as drinking tea 10 times a day), so there are no prices listed and then you get to start the process of trying not to get ripped off as bad as the guy before you.
|Tiles for sale at the Spice Market|
|Spices, teas and more!|
Then it was more walking (thinking it's been almost 20 miles of walking the last two day, getting the most out of my shoes) over the Galata bridge, past all the fishermen and up the hill to the Galata Tower. Galata is a sweet neighborhood (on the funkier side and in a perfect location in town) and is pretty much all uphill. At the top of the hill is the Tower which is magnificent and is surrounded by a square where the old men play backgammon and people hang out drinking tea. Good times! Then I got a text to meet some couch surfers for turkish coffee by an old palace up the road, so I met them, watched the sea and had a blast. Later that night, it was on to Taksim, one of the main shopping/bar hopping areas, where I met Aysun, the woman I am living with for a drink in a cool rooftop bar. Great views and times up there! Life is good!
|Galata Tower Square|
|That's how you spruce up some old stairs. And toss in one of the thousands of cats, and you've got a sweet picture.|