Turkey: A Tale Of Two Palaces

I used my friend’s camera to take the bizzillion pictures of Turkey. Mine is smaller, and something is wrong with the zoom control. We both had forgotten to bring our converters, so there was no way to charge the batteries. We planned to go stop somewhere in the village to get one, then charge on the ferry.  Well… we forgot. So before doing any more touring, our first objective was to purchase a charger then charge the battery somewhere. I didn’t want to risk not capturing something memorable on camera.

So we thought we could simply find an electronics store really fast… but no, all of them were either sold out or not open. We walked up and down the street asking for the next place that could sell it. We finally went into a hardware store that had one. They even let us charge the battery in their store.

After the charging was done, we walked around the current district we were in for a little, then headed to the next stop on the tour.

The Dolmabahçe Palace was situated right on the Bosphorus Strait. It was built by Sultan Abdulmecid (1839-1861) who was the thirty first Ottoman Sultan.

Dolmabahçe Palace

Dolmabahçe Palace

The tours were divided into English language and Turkish tours. We had to put on plastic booties before entering the Palace. There were too many people per group. I assume they had to do it this way because of the large numbers of visitors. But I was annoyed from the start of the tour. The number of people was so large, that I couldn’t hear the tour guide. And she added to my anxiety by not seeming to care if people heard her. And she moved through the palace at break neck speed. I wanted to browse and absorb the artifacts and rooms.  When I finally reached the rally point for the group, she had already given a talk on the current part of the Palace and was moving on already. The next group was pushing us forward faster then I wanted. Ugh.

But the icing on the cake to my annoyance happened on two separate occasions. I am a historian at heart and believe on a sacred level the necessity of adhering to rules and procedures set up for the preservation of historical areas. As we were passing through one hall, up ahead a guy was trying to hold up and put back a drawer from an armoire that his wife had decided to take out. The armoire was in a roped off area. But she still decided to inspect this priceless piece of historical art and artifact personally and almost break it on top of that!  I was speechless and mad all at the same time. Where I would have kicked her out immediately, the staff simply told her not to touch the stuff. Arghhhh.  And then,

This Palace was one of the few sites that photos were off limits. We were dangling in the back of the tour group as was another family. I noticed a teenage girl steady her phone and take a picture! Then she showed her mom who approved!  Argghh. I was ready to leave, before I hurt someone and was thrown in a Turkish prison.

Next we visited another Palace, the Cıragan Palace for a relaxing cup of tea. This Palace was also on the Bosphorus Strait, but had been converted to a luxury hotel. The café was on the backside facing the Strait.

Cıragan Palace

Cıragan Palace

It was a very swank place. Felt a little out of place, but it was good to sit for a while and be served well. (Thought there would be an Orlando Bloom sighting, but didn’t happen.)

Cıragan Palace

Cıragan Palace

We went down to the water for pictures, took a self -guided tour through the rest of the Palace and headed out.

It was getting to be dark by now. So we meandered to a boardwalk area with cute shops and restaurants with outside seating. Lots of people were out and about enjoying the evening. This is where we decided to eat dinner. This area is known for several types of ‘hand held’ foods. My friend wanted me to try both. The first was crepe-like bread, which served as the wrap for a variety of inserts; chocolate, cheeses, mushroom, etc. We got a white cheese one. The other food we got was a baked potato. I’ve had loaded baked potato before, but this was loaded baked potato on steroids. There were at least 20 options and we had nearly all of them. So good!

Loaded Potato Place

Loaded Potato Place

We went down by to the end of the boardwalk to eat them. It was a beautiful night with happy people all around.

This is when we figured out that we couldn’t catch the next ferry in time. And the last one was several hours away, 11 p.m. No worries. We decided to walk the along the Bosphorus Strait looking at the boats and sites along the seaside. We walked for quite a while, but my friend had a particular destination in mind.

We arrived to a seemingly posh district of the city. She wanted me to try a ‘waffle’ at a place known for it’s waffles. Sure enough, there was a long line waiting patiently for these waffles. Having lived in NYC, I am used to waiting in line for good food. If people are willing to risk hot, cold or windy weather, it’s a sign its good and worth the wait. But I can’t think of a scenario where this phenomenon occurs in North Carolina.  (Waiting in the lobby of a restaurant doesn’t count.) Food trucks, perhaps?

Waffle Place

Waffle Place

When she first mentioned eating a ‘waffle’, thought she meant a ice cream waffle cone. Nope. It was a fresh made waffle filled with varieties of fruit and sweet spreads; chocolate, vanilla, etc.  We had to wait for quite a while. The guy directly in front of us ordered six. Six! That alone took 15+  minutes.

But it was worth the wait.

***

“I pulled up to the house about 7 or 8
And I yelled to the cabbie ‘Yo homes smell ya later’
I looked at my kingdom
I was finally there
To sit on my throne as the Prince of Bel Air”

Fresh Prince of Bel Air, DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince

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