Istanbul Travelogue: Day 2

April 27, 2007 at 3:42 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Like many medieval cities, Istanbul is a challenge to navigate. I spent the better part of an hour trying to find the Mevlevi Monastary, home of the famed Whirling Dervishes. James seemed to think I could buy tickets for Sunday’s performance, but after many an uphill and downhill trek (mostly in the wrong direction….sighh), they told me to come back Sunday morning.

The rest of my afternoon I spent at the Military History museum, which was actually pretty fascinating. They have quite a collection of 12th – 19th century weaponry, some of it very bizarre. Lots of ornate curved swords, and trench guns as long as cannons. They also had a whole room of cannons, modern spy equipment, and a recreation of the military school when Ataturk attended. My favorite part by far was the display of the actual chain used to pull across the Golden Horn during the conquest of the city by the Ottomans in the 1450s. Next to it they had this totally awesome diarama showing the city under seige: The chain was pulled across the mouth of the golden horn by the Byzantines, the walls were in place around the city on both shores, and the Ottomans laid a track for the boats to be ferried across the land on the west side of the city (almost near where we’re staying), and into the protected part of the Golden Horn. Pretty cool.

I also caught a perfomance of the traditional Jannessary band outside–a military band that played alongside the troops back in 1880s. Lots of interesting costumes, loud trumpets, beeeg drums and cymbals.

James and I took much needed naps when we got home. This is James’s last day as a refugee officer. Felt kind of weird for him. But he’s happy to finally have some time off and get to enjoy the city. We ate at an Italian place in neighborhood for dinner last night. Discovered two things while out: crossing the street around here is like a game of dodge ball. Even when you have the cross sign, you’ve got to watch for rogue light-runners, who don’t seem to be very concerned if they hit a person. The other thing we discovered is there’s no such thing as the “non-smoking” section of a restaurant. Or, at least, the ones we can afford. So I think we’ll keep our dinners outside or at kabop stands for the most part.

Today, after stealing much from the free breakfast downstairs (shhhh), we’re off to the Dolmebahce Palace and the Naval Museum. This time I’m bringing my camera, so I should have some photos later.

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