Istanbul & Camp Gramp: Day 2

August 2

A gathering room in the harem
A gathering room in the harem

This morning was a tough start. Jet lag persists. But we roused ourselves and headed out to Topkepi Palace, ostensibly before the worst of the tourists hit. After a snag involving insufficient lira and government buildings that don’t take credit cards or dollars, we got in. We saw the harem first. It was lovely, with amazing detail work. There are, however, only so many Iznik tiles you can admire before they blur together. Then, by luck, we caught an open air concert of the military band. It was quite wonderful, although their trumpet section wasn’t up to my standards. After that the circumstances went downhill.
Historical Turkish Band
Historical Turkish Band

The place was packed with tourists of all stripes. The wait for the treasury was abominable, and the humidity was high. There were some neat things to be seen, but the heat, crowd, lines and lacking interpretations made it difficult for even the most intrepid museum-goers to flourish. We fled for lunch and a siesta.

After lunch we pursued a tip on where we might find a nice, handmade, leather purse…. Not a brand name or knockoff. We were unsuccessful in that quest, but met a nice salesman who admitted that he wasn’t really interested In selling us a purse, and didn’t have any relatives in the bazaar, but wished us luck. We walked home past the Golden Horn, the rail station that was the end of the Orient Express, and an expanse of the Bosporous. We sat in fading golden sun, our backs to ancient walls inscribed with Greek, watching crazy old men swim, fathers fishing with their sons, and mammoth ships negotiating turbulent waters.

My favorite spot on the Bosphorous
My favorite spot on the Bosphorous

A fine dinner, and then dessert on a rooftop restaurant, with a view of night lit Hagia Sophia on one side and the roiling waters of the
Bosporous on the other. My husband and I kept arguing about who had the better view.

Tomorrow is the Blue Mosque… We hope to catch that before the cruise ships overwhelm it. Then the Grand Bazaar in out ongoing purse quest, followed by a landmark cup of coffee in the Spice Bazaar.

Hagia Sophia on a sultry Istanbul night
Hagia Sophia on a sultry Istanbul night

At least that’s the plan!

We miss our boys. There are lots of kids here, so we are always reminded. Give them big hugs and kisses for us.


Meanwhile, back in the States…
After spending the day looking at all the women in 1830 had to do, I guess shouldn’t complain. We went to Sturbridge Village. Minor complications, but for the most part, it was great fun. The Shirts (tie-dyed) were a hit! People knew we were together, anyway. We rode in the horse drawn carriage and took a ride on the boat. We saw the blacksmith. Pizza may not be 1830, but it was good. Dad got to see the sawmill working — something I saw last time. The children made candle holders. A good time was had by all.

I will try to get a picture of the crew at Sturbridge Village in tie dye off to you shortly. Dad’s is especially colorful!

Gramama and Papapa

Sounds like you are having a great time. So are we.

Sturbridge Village is really awesome. We can go again in the next 10 days free and I am thinking about it. Without Thane, it would be different. Of course, without children at all would be really interesting, but I don’t think we will manage that.

I have never seen a child that liked a bath better than Thane. My goodness. Better get tickets for the 2030 Olympics. I think he will be a swimmer.

The boys are fine. They are tired tonight, but they are both off to bed. Thane is asleep. Grey will be soon. We read lots of books tonight — it was great fun.

How do we get pictures on this computer? (Editor’s note with foreshadowing: I wish I’d managed to send her this information!!!)


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Brenda currently lives in Stoneham MA, but grew up in Mineral WA. She is surrounded by men, with two sons, one husband and two boy cats. She plays trumpet at church, cans farmshare produce and works in software.

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