Friday May 22nd
Sites Visited: Topkapi Palace, Grand Bazaar.
Where did we stay tonight?: Istanbul
Leaders: Kait Barber and Chris Johnson
After sleeping in and enjoying a long breakfast, we gathered at 10 am to meet our tour guide and head over to Topkapi Palace. Along with hoards of school children and tourists we made our way through several gateways and gardens into the heart of the Topkapi palace complex. After a brief introduction on the different parts of the palace, we had time to explore the exhibits and feast our eyes upon the crown jewels, holy Islamic relics, and Sultan costumes. The kitchen alone had 20 chimneys and had room to feed up to 12,000 people. Among the most spectacular of the pieces were the two 105 pound solid gold candlesticks and an 86-carat diamond. The diamond, known as the spoon-maker’s diamond, was first found and traded to a spoon-maker for only 3 spoons. The palace also has an exhibition of Islamic holy relics, including the staff of Moses, sword of David, and a footprint of the Prophet Muhammad.
After seeing the incredible exhibits and breathtaking views of the Bosporus, we headed to the Grand Bazaar. At the Grand Bazaar, we said goodbye to our tour guide and were sent free to explore the Bazaar and bargain to our heart’s content. We left with our wallets lighter and our arms full of scarves, tiles, jewelry, soccer jerseys, fezzes, leather jackets, teas, and Turkish coffees.
We all split off to enjoy our last (tear!) night in Istanbul. Some traveled over to Taksim Square in Beyoglu, the hip shopping and dining neighborhood. Although two FSPers enjoyed the Star Trek 3, others chose to experience a more traditional Turkish evening and ate at Marco Pasha, a restaurant with delicious stuffed flatbread.
Day 62 Photo Gallery: