25 Jun 2011


Today at 11 am we will leave our cute little hotel which had been a real home to us during the 10 days we have spent here.

our room, with Domi making advertising for apple tea and my "office" on the other side was a little round table and an armchair.

"our street"

We wanted to take as much sun as possible home to our usually grey Belgium so we spent yesterday the whole afternoon reading and chatting on the roof by the swimming pool.

In the morning we did a last shopping and went to the Grand Bazar.

this is the plan and gives you an idea how big it is.

Dominique found a beautiful turquoise ring for her and I bought a little hand painted bowl for my friend in England. I must have written on my front "I am German" because lots of the vendors talked German to me. Germany has a huge Turkish community and lots of people have worked in Germany saved as much as possible and returned to their country to open a shop. I met at least 5 this morning who told me their story and where they had lived.

Of course they always had something to sell. The people like to laugh and joke so we had a quiet funny walk through the Bazar.

We admired this golden elephant

and the Turkish slippers

need some jewelry in real gold ? come to the Bazar !

in one of the little streets

and a fountain, where a man brushed his teeth

A place for Apple Tea !

and our last Turkish sandwich in our little café called "Akin Buffet". We certainly will miss them !

then we took our tram back to the hotel.

And herewith end my holidays in Istanbul

24 Jun 2011

ISTANBUL DAY 9 - Bospherus cruise

As tomorrow it will be already our last day and we want to go back to the Grand Bazar, we decided to return to the habour and take a cruise of our own, one on the Asian side and one on the European side. It turned out that from both cruise ships we almost had the same view, only sometimes you were nearer to the river side.

We took our tram to Asia and took a sightseeing boat named "Arthur" of course it couldn't be another name even by pure coincidence !

The atmosphere on the first ship was very cheerful, there was music and the people danced. A young Turkish women came over and asked if she could sit between us and have a picture taken. Of course we agreed ! First we spoke English with her but then it turned out that she was a teacher in German ! Her parents had worked in Germany and she was at school there, so she spoke perfectly German. In Istanbul then she got her teacher degree. She was happy to speak German and we chatted together. The other women were also teachers it was a very funny group.

The Turkish girls, and one they didn't like at all ! The German teacher is the one on the left. These black crows are not liked at all !

Here we are on the other ship on the European side it was much bigger and also more elegant, if a ship can be elegant. The surprise was it was cheaper instead of 12 € for the first ship, here we payed only 10 € for 1 1/2 h cruise. It was wonderful sitting there and watching the beautiful landscape along the river side.

The roman city wall and in front a Muslim graveyard

we drove under the bridge which relates Europe to Asia, an old palace was just standing underneath. I hope for them that they don't hear the cars over their heads.

We approached the stop and went off the ship. Just besides was a little covered place with benches and little chairs and tables.

We thought it would be nice to have this grilled fish sandwich again. And it was delicious !

Dominique eats with appetite

The fish comes fresh from the sea and is grilled on the fisher boat

Under our table was a happy fat cat, who wasn't bothered at all by all these people

That's the sandwich.

We crossed the place in front of the habour where many little food stands are, took the tram and went back to our hotel.

Dominique at the entrance

The rest of the day I tried to prepare this post, with Internet interruptions and some @&§% and then sunbathing and swimming on the roof.

23 Jun 2011


Today we choose the Dolmabahce Palace for a visit. I had seen it already from outside when we did our boat tour. We took our tram and went from Europe to Asia, as the Palace is on the other side.

I never had imagined what a beautiful palace it was ! I have seen Versailles near Paris, but it seemed like a garden shed to me when I had visited this one !

It is not that old it was built between the years 1843 and 1856.

The Palace was guarded by special soldiers, one stood like a wax figure there and didn't move a bit. It was like these wax figures you see sometimes on the streets. Everybody posed besides the poor guy he certainly was sweating under his helmet and suddenly a second one arrived to lift the helmet several times so that his head got a little air.

Before we entered the palace we all had to put a plastic around our shoes, a few young man forgot it and had to come out to put them on. We all looked very elegant.

We were not the only once who had the idea of visiting the palace today.

The world's largest Bohemian crystal chandelier is in the center hall. The chandelier, a gift from Queen Victoria, has 750 lamps and weighs 4.5 tonnes.

Unfortunately no camera was allowed inside the palace I could just take this picture by zooming from outside.

When I took this one to show the beautiful ceilings , a guardian made me a sign that even from outside I wasn't allowed to take a picture from inside !

But as usual when something is not allowed it becomes interesting to me so I am very proud that I could take this picture of the famous Crystal Staircase which has the shape of a double horseshoe and is built of Baccarat crystal, brass and mahogany. It was like in a fairy tale, it wouldn't have surprised me if a princess with a crown would have showed up suddenly.

Outside was a parking for strollers ! that looked so funny !

the park too was beautiful and had several lion sculptures.

When we got out of all this beauty and another world, we were hungry and looked for a little café for our Turkish sandwich. But we didn't find anything in Asia so we took the tram back to Europe and stopped at the habour.

There we found this beautiful golden carriage where a man in a phantasy uniform sold fresh grilled fish in a sandwich. Dominique bought two, and we sat down

here on little chairs and tables and ate with pleasure our freshly grilled fish, while looking at the Ferries and excursion boats. Then we took the tram to the hotel.

The afternoon we spent as usual here on the roof. The waiter told us that he lives in the European quarter, but on the Asian side, and there are all cultures and religions living together in harmony. He said that he is woken up by the Mosque's speaker calling for prayers, while his brother is woken up by church bells because he lives besides a catholic church. Only the Jews who live there since centuries don't make any noise, at least not religious once.

BTW I have my new sunglasses on my nose !

22 Jun 2011


The weather was again like out of a fairy tale, so we decided to visit the Grand Bazar in Istambul. It is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, with more than 58 covered streets and over 4000 shops ! It also houses two mosques, two hamams, four fountains, and multiple restaurants and cafes. The whole complex consists of 12 major buildings and has 22 doors. Don't think that we made 4000 shops !

We walked down there it was not too hot yet and we entered door 7 which was the closest one. And there you are in another world. The architecture of the buildings is beautiful and the painted ceilings real artworks. Each wing has another decoration. The shops are side by side. We window shopped and also bought some little gifts which I can't name here because of our families ! The time flew by and at a moment we were tired sat down in a cute little corner surrounded by fake bushes (!) and had a delicious apple tea. This tea is so good you really taste the fresh apples. It is the National drink and is offered to guests.

Then we continued and walked through some other wings, until we had enough. We asked for door 7 to get out, impossible not to get lost in there !

The inside of the Grand Bazar

and Dominique entering a shop

a fountain in the middle of all these different streets

We had lunch in "our" little café before we returned back by tram. On the picture above you see a Grandma with her little granddaughter.Even with a scarf women too smoke !!

BTW we noticed that there are lots of women working just like in our Western world, there are police women, bankers, Hotel Managers etc. Women had already the right to vote in the 50 the, when we still were far behind.

We were too tired and it was too hot to walk up the hill.

These trams are very modern and comfortable !

Yesterday I had troubles with Google I couldn't access my gmail account and my blogs had disappeared. After two hours of not ladylike behaving I finally managed to get my account back and Google in Turkish !! Which was Greek to me. I followed my instinct and clicked on all kind of words and suddenly I saw "English" clicked again and had a readable Google back and a nervous breakdown.

Today Internet is slow but it works !

The rest of the day we spent on our roof beach and I had a delicious trout

The view on the roof by night !

21 Jun 2011


The weather is still beautiful we have 27 °C (8? F) but it doesn't feel too hot as there is always a little wind. We decided to visit Topkapi Palace. Therefore we took the tram again. I had looked at the numbers of stops to get to Topkapi, and had counted 7. We took the tram and drove and drove and suddenly we crossed the bridge and went from Europe to Asia ! Have you ever done this with a tram for not even half a € ? Dominique who replaces my Madame GPS told me that there is something wrong because the Topkapi should be near to our hotel and now we were on an other continent. She decided we should get out and take the next tram back.

A friendly Turkish man, who by coincidence had also be a tourist guide and spoke a perfect French explained to us where we were and where we had to go. Imagine the fun we had when we discovered our mistake ! So we returned seven stops and got out at the right place !

of course we had a special reception ! a loud one too.

Sultan Arthur was also there. I thought he had stayed in Waterloo. Funny that Harem's cats are also white males !

The Topkapi Palace is enormous. In earlier times it was home to many Sultans with a well furnished Harem, of about 1000 women ! Poor man, if he had to fulfill his marital duties without any Viagra, I wonder when he had time to visit them all.

It had been transformed in 1924 into a museum of the imperial era. The palace complex has hundreds of rooms and chambers, but only the most important are accessible to the public today.

Dominique shows the entrance and I am standing under my personal golden pergola

We wandered around and looked at all these beautiful weapons decorated with diamonds, turquoise and rubies, saphires etc. One diamond was very huge and had 82 karats was first put on a ring (it probably covered half of the hand) and became then a brooch to be fixed on the Sultan's turban.

We also saw a golden cradle and many other things, but in one room we didn't go because there were so many people lined up, it would have taken at least 1 h to get into the door. It was mostly porcelain, jewelry, etc. But we didn't have the courage to line up in the heat to see some dishes, rings and bracelets or whatever was in there.

click on the pictures to biggify

A guide with a very funny umbrella, then entrance and the long line to get into one of the Palace's rooms.

visit finished

The whole tour took us more than 2 h and we were quiet tired and hungry when we finally got out. We found a cute little café where we ate our chicken Durum, the traditional turkish sandwich. Then we took the tram and returned to our hotel. I went on the roof to take a sunbath, Dominique into her bed for a little nap.

And our day ended with a nice meal in the hotel restaurant looking over Istanbul by night and listening to the 3D call for prayers. The dog had probably used earplugs or had decided not to pray anymore.