Day 3 of our Istanbul adventures started a little later than usual. The reason for this was because I was super sneaky and turned off our alarm before I went to bed. HAHAHA. Sister did not find this humorous in the slightest, but I got some quality sleep in. Which, ultimately benefits HER because I’m a much happier traveler when I’ve gotten my 8 hours of sleep. And food. So, when we left without breakfast again, I demanded we stop for some dried fruit to keep me fueled and cheerful.
The strawberries were a delight. The coconut was disgusting. I wish I had tried more of the things.
With my snack ready to go, I was, once again, a fun traveling partner. We had allotted the first half of the day to spend at Topkapi Palace since it was humongous and there was so much to see. The museum pass, once again, covered the cost of our entrance fee. It was a real smart purchase. Thank you, Lonely Planet, for the tip.
Before we started exploring, Sister and I sat down in the courtyard to read a little bit about the palace from the guidebook. Every time we explored a new place, I suggested we purchase the audio tour, but each and every time, Sister gave me a disgusted look and said the guidebook would provide us with all the information we needed. I didn’t want to argue at this point. I did, after all, turn off the alarm and, as a result, we were not on schedule. I didn’t want to risk getting my head bit off.
Sister was real happy when I listened to the stories she read out loud from the guidebook.
We read through the description of the palace and then got up to explore. We wanted to check out the kitchen first. Apparently, they had some porcelain that would change color when brought into contact with poisonous food. But we couldn’t figure out our way in. Either that or it was closed to the public. But I’m pretty sure it was because we couldn’t figure out how to find the entrance. (The guidebook didn’t help us with our dilemma. The audio tour probably would have. Just saying.)
We continued on to see the Imperial Council and the Weapons Room. The museum passes also gave us access to view the Imperial Harem – which was essentially the Sultan’s huge-ass apartment where he kept his wife, his family, and all the concubines. And there were a lot of ’em. Also, Sultan Ahmed I was only 14 years old when he became the Sultan. Which means this 14-year old CHILD was sleeping with a ton of ladies. Oh – and also responsible for an entire empire. Let that sit with you for a second.
All in all, it was pretty incredible to see how well everything was preserved – from the engravings to the structures to the detailed walls and ceilings. Unreal.
Most of the other rooms in the palace went un-photographed because it wasn’t allowed. They were pretty serious about it. I think I heard some security guard growling at some ridiculous American tourists who were trying to be sneaky. Silly Americans. But, seriously, if you ever go to Turkey, this is a must-see. Do it. Hopefully you can figure out how to enter the kitchen. And, when you do, report back.
After the palace, Sister tried to appease me and feed me lunch on time. Like a normal person. (I think she was beginning to see the correlation between hours passed without eating and my happiness level). We went to The Han Restaurant – which was conveniently located right outside of Topkapi Palace. Here, I tried the wine again. Nooooo good. Although the presentation was WAY cute.
We ordered a bunch of little things to share – hummus, tzatziki, some quesadilla-looking thing stuffed with meat and other things (that sounds really uncultured. I just forgot what it was called). And then we shared this main dish. Which was predominately a chicken breast COVERED in some BUTTERY goodness.
Yum. Yum. Yum.
We ended up sitting for quite a bit after we finished eating. Partially because I enjoyed resting my feet (Sister did not approve of my dilly-dallying). But partially because the waiters at restaurants don’t bring you your check unless you ask for it. That took some getting used to. I’m used to walking into restaurants, eating, and then being shoved out the door. But EVERY single meal we ate was followed up with an uncomfortable interaction as I tried to ask for the check. Nobody is ever in a hurry. Which is actually pretty nice, to be honest. But if you’re planning to go to Turkey, and you’re like Sissy where you want to DO ALL THE THINGS AT LIGHTNING SPEED, the words for “Check Please” is “Hesap Lutfen.” You’re welcome.
Random tiled wall we saw on our walk. Gorgeous.
After lunch, we walked toward the Grand Bazaar.
Istanbul Fail #5:
Things are closed on Sundays. Duh.
I was all ready with my bargaining skills and everything. Instead, Sister dragged me to the Mosaic Museum. Sister wanted to read ALL the things on the walls. I was more interested in people watching. And picture taking.
Sister didn’t know what to do with us because she had allotted 3 hours for the Grand Bazaar. Screwed up all the plans. We decided to buy some roasted chestnuts and head to Gulhane Park and do some quality people-watching.
We laid down for a little bit on the grass and then eventually got back up to walk through the park. One of the funniest things we saw on the walk was a wedding shoot. The reason being because there were a bunch of random little kiddos that kept running up to the bride and hiding underneath the train of her wedding dress. So. Cute.
We exited the park and made our way over the bridge and back toward our hotel. On our walk back, there was a ton of commotion on Istiklal and at least 40 police officers standing on guard. At first, I was paranoid and wanted to head a different way. And then I saw some rainbow flags and drunken gays. Gay pride in Istanbul! It was so, so much fun to see. Everyone was having a blast, climbing up towers, dancing in the streets, and hanging out in windows.
We hung out for a little bit and then walked back to our hotel. But, first, stopped for some fresh fruit. We bought some bananas, cherries, and little baby apple-looking things that tasted SUPER sour.
Istanbul Fail #6:
Ordering room service because I was too tired to find something to eat on Istiklal. What a waste.
I secretly wanted to shut the alarm off before I went to sleep again. But Sister requested to keep my phone on her side of the bed to ensure that the trickery didn’t happen again. Smart lady. Little did she know that there was NO reason to get up at 6AM the next day…
Questions of the Day:
- Favorite dried fruit?
- When on vacation, are you GO-GO-GO like Sissy? Or do you allow yourself naps and food?