Monday, August 9, 2010

Istanbul ... Day 2

Early morning boats running every which way. Fishermen with nets line up their crafts. All this just over the rail of my balcony as I pour that first cup of tea. Over my shoulder in the main channel, five Naval Ships course north east towards the Black Sea ... could be Russian. Yes sir, I'm really here; holy cow!!

First on the agenda is The Palace: beautiful gardens, the stony guard on his pedestal, shoe covers and then the steps and stairways and crystal [Waterford and Polish]. Even the balustrades; such opulence, no wonder there was a revolt. After all the walking in circles, the boat ride up and around the Bosporus gave way to many naps. Lunch! Now off to the Bazaar; however, Ed, Richard [Ed's uncle] and I elected to get off the tour bus at the Blue Mosque. We're on our own now! If you look moderately confused, "guides" flock to you. After some negotiating, we were led inside [the walls are blue mosaic tile] and given the whole story. Oh, you know, this was a true mosque to replace the use of Haige Sophia which is a basilica and doesn't face east exactly. As we walked out, our guide had insisted we visit his carpet show room. There is something about NO and NO THANK YOU that fuels a sellers fire.

Cotton on cotton, silk on cotton, silk on silk, they were all there in their rich colors.... Prayer rugs up to 12'x10'.... every shade, every design. For a moment I was fearful they had hooked Ed; but we escaped to run headlong into a jewelry shop of the most exquisite items. The masses of small unpolished rubies on multiple long strands of liquid gold .... ummmmmm .... pure elegance. Shake it off, dig in, must get back up that hill and over to see Sophia.

Haige Sophia, a basilica built for Christian worship until the Muslims arrived. They turned it into a mosque until The Blue Mosque was built. For me, it still held that ambiance that is so quieting. The craftsmanship and artistry is amazing considering it was built in the 3rd or 4th century. Our art hasn't come all that far when one really considers everything. Wonder what the walls would tell. Time to head for the ship ... TAXI!

Richard and I piled into the back seat. Ed, being over 6' was left to fold himself into the front. The first indication of creativity, the idiot crossed over behind the electric trolley and we proceeded to have the wildest ride without touching the horn. We maneuvered through centimeters width of air space at breakneck speeds then slam on the brakes. We nearly had an old man and his wooden push cart laden with tea and pastries as a hood ornament. I must note that when faced with terror/fear I either scream or laugh.By this time, I was laughing hysterically with Richard. Think Ed was numb. Next we careened down what appeared to be an alleyway that was actually a street lined with parked cars. Suddenly we stop in the lane of traffic, "we are here, ship around corner just 200 meters". A half a mile later, if I had encountered the "idiot", believe I would have had the strength to strangle. As I finally dragged myself through ship security, my Butler was called to confirm I was the last passenger to return. What a distinction. Oh, yes, I have a Butler who was waiting smilingly with my door open as my rubber band legs made it down the hallway .... a scotch would be nice, thank you.

Dinner, in Discoveries, was late but delicious, especially the Oysters Appetizer, and a nice Cabernet with TC [Ed's aunt] and Richard. We departed for Yalta at 10:00p.m. Following dinner we went up to the top deck and watched the lights pass and recede into the darkness of the Bosporus. We are on our way.

That is quite enough for now; join me for a cup of restorative tea and consider a whole day at sea and Yalta??? Later....

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