After 23 hours on May 3-4 of FLL-IAD-LHR-IST (and sore sit-bones to prove it), a quick crash at the Istanbul Airport Marriot - thank you G! - was definitely in order. Next morning though was super for a Bosporus walking tour through the moon-and-star land of Sultans, whirling dervishes, minarets and - coming soon - gorgeous anchorages.
Above we do a quick over-winter catch up, though, with a few Florida pics of our radio-controlled model sailboat racing, orchids on our Boca patio and a Christmas visit from Italian sailing pals Attilio & Maria from sistership Amel Santorin "Sisila". Then, with a layover at Heathrow we opted for a 'virtual' Tower Bridge & Big Ben stop, before boarding Turkish Air to Istanbul.
From our Bosporus walking tour, then, you see the view from Europe to Asia across the busy Straights. On the right are the Imperial Gates of the Dolmabahce Palace exquisitely located on the European waterfront. Unfortunately the queue was also exquisitely long, so we opted to continue our walk along the water's edge taking in the full-on marine traffic, including sailboats returning from the "Bosphorus Sailing Cup" further up the straight, which the banner Kath's holding was about. The little fish you see are the catch - not the bait!- for hundreds of fisherman lining the sea wall ... wonder if they made much of a meal at the teaming Ortakoy seaside restaurants? We took a pass on them and the plentiful nargile (water pipe) cafes and after Craig hit a perfect soccer head shot, we toured a very special gallery and the attached Palace Collections Museum - see the next montage below.
In the gallery then, to our delight, we stumbled on an unexpected private viewing by local artists, three lovely and very welcoming young women: Oya Metalar, Esranur Kahraman and Melike Deveci. They happily described the exhibit, called Mehasin-I Selatin and their personal artwork. Esranur, to Kath's left, had the best English and enthusiastically showed us their paintings with very fine detail illustrating themes from the years of rule by the Ottoman Sultans. In most pieces, gold leaf was used to illuminate images colored with acrylics, inks and water-based paints. The two page,' book-like' paintings represented individual Sultan's influence including distinctive robe patterns, floral and other decorative motifs, Islamic verse and each Sultan's signature. Other contemporary paintings complimented the more traditional interpretations, highlighting specific motifs on marbleized watercolor backgrounds. Esranur was very proud to demonstrate her fine brush free hand technique and the works of her teacher and fellow artists. What a lucky find for us as the exhibit is only open for two weeks!
No more pictures - our batteries died :-( but set just behind the gallery, in and above the old Dolmabahce Palace kitchens (ruins showing below a glass floor) is the Palace Collections Museum (5TL pp), a permanent exhibit where over 5000 objects from the last six Sultan's palaces are well-displayed. Beautiful textile, porcelain, glass, silver, photographic and furniture artifacts provide traces of the opulent life in the late Ottoman Empire. We ended our day at the Istanbul train station of Orient Express fame and, nearby, had an excellent meal at Pasazede - we highly recommend it!! (Take note Threshhold!!)