Thursday 6 September 2007



Today was taken at a more leisurely pace with breakfast at this fabulous hotel on the shores of the Bosphorus, then a cruise up to the Black Sea with more cultural history thrown in, a quick museum visit and back in time for lunch. Once again we were told that this is the best hotel in Istanbul. In fact 6* standard.

The original old Palace building has 12 horrendously expensive suites and conference and banqueting facilities. All extremely grand and, I would imagine, strictly out of bounds to the likes of us. . In fact when we tried to walk on the esplanade beside the sea in front of the Palace building on our first night we were quickly chased away.

HOWEVER, two of our fellow travellers have been in the building and were anxious to show us the extreme opulence of the place. They had sneaked in around the back and with little need for encouragement we agreed to follow them. So off we set, four ladies of retirement age, giggling like naughty children.

They had the red carpets out today and the place was alive with busy worker ants moving furniture, bringing in trolleys of prepared foods, setting up sound systems etc. They were obviously expecting someone very important. I timidly reminded everyone that the Turkish army is very large and we were in danger of triggering a full-scale security alert. "Don't worry, we'll deal with that if it happens". Yeh like deal with rotting in a foreign jail for several years. "Am I the only one with a bit of sense around here?" "Oh come on, lighten up, you only live once". I had found the remnants of the happening, baby boomer, and flower power generation again. We are all around in the guise of sedate suburban retirees.

The amazing thing was that we didn't get arrested and were allowed to walk unchallenged among the throngs of workers to admire the priceless chandeliers, carpets and artefacts that adored this breathlessly beautiful building. Room after room of beauty. I have never, never seen anything like it before, nor probably every will again. I did take a photograph, but I forgot and took it with my camera instead of the BlackBerry, so I can't blog it until I get back home. But, as my ex-friend DogLover likes to point out I take crap photographs anyway. Tomorrow is the big day. We board the Orient Express at 1530 and travel for six days to Venice. If that is as good as our time here we are in for a real treat.
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Anonymous said...

Well I think the photo is rather lovely. It reminds me of the mad weekend I spent in Istanbul. My boss wanted to buy a new handbag and as she had loads of airmiles off we went to Istanbul to get it. Just the sort of thing you'd do eh!

I remember it well because all the traders kept mentioning "her mother" meaning me and I got very depressed as at that stage I was a mere 52 or so and she must have been 35. Mother indeed.

By the way, you should be able to guess who this is. The clue is in the name - think about it.

DogLover said...

You have so little self-confidence that you misinterpreted my comment yesterday - I was wanting to know exactly what the photo was of. As you know, I am an expert on Turkey, so am interested.

The photo was very nice.