Friday, March 2, 2012

Istanbul Photo Roundup, Part 3

A Taksim street musician.

One more photo of Emin's place, seen from our hotel balcony. I'll always wonder what the story is with Emin spray painting the wall of his steps. There's a cat in front of Emin's place. Very Istanbul.

Looking down the street from our hotel balcony.

Jay wanted to take us to this restaurant, but they had run out of food just before we got there. Some friends had introduced him to the place. They bring out big platters of food and the customers help themselves and eat all they want until the food is all gone, then the place closes for the day. I guess this will have to be another "Next Time" item.

Another photo from the Galata Tower of Istanbul across the Golden Horn.

The Galata Tower area.

Robin wanted Turkish food for lunch so Jay took us here. Very good. Loved it.

Jay has been saving this Istanbul newspaper for eight years to give to Robin. In 2004 he was reading the paper and stumbled upon this article about Robin's book Sweet Swan of Avon. The book is about the Authorship Question, and puts forth her theory that the works attributed to the man William Shakespeare were actually written by Mary Sidney Herbert, the Countess of Pembroke.

From Galata Tower, a bridge that crosses the Golden Horn.

Our taxi driver gets out to discuss a traffic jam on a narrow street. 

More photos from the Galata Tower.

A taxi ride.

Street musicians in Taksim. That looks like a homemade didgeridoo.

During one of our adventures in Istanbul, Jay took us to a cafe on the European side of the Bosphorous. His friend Buket met us there. We somehow drifted into a conversation about languages and we taught Buket a Southern phrase or two. Later, as we jumped in a taxi to go back to our hotel, Buket said "Y'all come back!" 

It's hard to refuse an invitation like that. The next time we're here, we won't be surprised to hear "Y'all come back" being used all over Istanbul.

Istanbul Photo Roundup, Part 2

Jay, in his Taksim apartment, shows Robin some of his books and other collectibles, including souvenirs from Santa Fe in 2000.

Jay's grandmother. Gotta find out the story behind this great photo.

Tea at Jay's apartment.

Jay's cat, Piaf. He found her as a stray in the Eastern part of Turkey and thought she was a kitten. He took her home and eventually realized she's very, very old. She's very sweet and loves her warm home and her bed next to the radiator. 

This Taksim street is always this empty before dark. After dark the crowds show up. 

Taksim again. Notice the graphic of the Galata Tower on the street banners. The Galata Tower is the oldest tower in the world.

When Robin stopped in an Exchange Bureau to change some money to Turkish Lira, she noticed this little display of miniature folded-paper boats. 

An enclosed street of shops in Taksim (they call this general area Taksim, after the street).

A small fish market in Taksim. Very fresh. 

When Jay left Santa Fe, he got his friends and family (us) to sign his American flag. It's hanging in his apartment. 

Taksim graffiti. This stylized Turk (Turkish Fez hat and mustache) reminds me of the smiling kitten graffiti we saw in Paris. That reminds me. We didn't see any Fez hats. Not even in gift shops.

Many of the buildings that are 100-200 years old are wooden structures like this.

Back to Jay's apartment. He took pity on me as a Cowboys fan and offered his support. What a great guy.

The view from Jay's balcony. That seems to be a Christian church, with crosses on top of its towers. I asked if he could hear the morning call to prayer at 5-ish am. He said no. A good reason, I think, to put Taksim at the top of your list when looking to rent an apartment.

This enclosed sidewalk is full of restaurants. Every couple of feet a different waiter, who is in charge of a handful of tables, tries to get you to sit in his area. That's right, the waiters compete with each other. I couldn't tell if they all worked for the same restaurant, or if they all were independent. 

The pathway of tables is about three times longer than shown in this photo. Just keep walking and you'll eventually be outside again. This restaurant area used to be covered, protected from the weather. After it became illegal to smoke inside at restaurants, they removed the roof so people can smoke while they eat. It was sprinkling rain as we walked through. I guess eating in the rain is better than eating without smoking.

Istanbul Photo Roundup, Part 1

Before I move on to other topics, I've rounded up some of the Istanbul photos that didn't get posted. Some are similar to others you might have already seen, but one of the reasons for this blog is to use it as documentation of our travels, and I'll use most of the material to create some coffee table books, just for our own enjoyment. And to jog our memory several years from now when we say "What was that strange and fascinating city we visited when we were young and frisky?"

The Blue Mosque. A short 5-10 minutes walk from Best Point Hotel. Name change suggestion: The Gold and White Mosque.

A Blue Mosque minaret illuminated with white light.

The source of the 5:30 am call to prayer. The actual time of calls to prayer varies everyday, since the time is based on a certain number of hours before sunrise, sunset, etc.

A Christian church in the Taksim area of Istanbul. The Pope's visit in 2006 is commemorated with a statue in the courtyard. Popes seldom drop by this part of the world for a visit. Maybe every couple hundred years.

Robin and Elmira buy ice cream from the famous ice cream guy.

A cat enjoys a meal in the Taksim area.

Jay, Elmira, and Robin stroll through the Sultanahmet area.

Jay guides us through the side streets of the Taksim neighborhood.

Taksim. It's not just a neighborhood. It's a popular street.

Jay looks for a waiter with a tray of hot Turkish tea.

This coffee shop in a courtyard is one of the most popular in Taksim.

I had every intention of buying a smoke at a cafe, but we never got around to it. Next time.

This guy keeps the coals going in the silver container. He'll also get your pipe going if you want him to.

Tending the coals. Or the tobacco. OK, I don't know what the heck he's doing, but it has something to do with the girl's shisha pipe.

It's getting darker and colder. Time to move on.