Day 25 – Istanbul

I woke up at 6AM.  I couldn’t believe today I had to be at the airport.  WHY!??!!  I need just one more day to say good-bye properly.  As I plotted ways to miss my plane, to figure out a way to wash dishes and afford an apartment, I said my goodbye’s to the lucky remaining students bound for Greece and Italy, and boarded the shuttle to the airport.

Luckily, I had company on the bus to talk to to keep my eyes from wandering off to look out the window at the Bosphorus, Mosques, Palaces, Businesses, and people.  I think now in hindsight, I would have teared and went into a mad frenzy in order to be deemed un fit to fly so that I could have another day or two there.  :-p

At the airport, I checked my bags.  It was official, I was leaving and had no other way out.  I hugged our tour guide Deniz, telling her not necessarily goodbye….

Somehow, I know I’ll be back…

Day 19 – Istanbul – Modern Style

Stepping out on to the balcony at the Golden Horn the next morning still holds a captivating view for me.  The Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia standed out against the Bosphorus.  And of course, the seagulls were back attacking everyone’s food who dared to sit outside.

Our first stop of the day was Arzu Kaprol’s design shop.  I officially have a new favorite designer and reason number 35 as to why I should re-visit Turkey again.  Her designs were femine without being too frilly or girlie.  The perfect amount of woman hood met with simplicity & creativity that embodies true sex appeal.

Inside Azru Kaprol's design shop in Istanbul

Unfortunately she was out of town, but we got to meet with her Marketing manager who was extremely helpful in answering questions posed by the fashion majors.  For the business majors, we simply had one, Ne Kedar (How much?).

Inside Azru Kaprol design in Istanbu, Turkey

We then headed to the Nişantaşı district which is the Beverly Hills of Istanbul.  Personally, I like it much better than Beverly Hills because of it’s Gold Coast/Magnificent Mile vibe less tourists.  We were honored to meet with a representative from Gonul Paksoy at her gallery.  It was at this point I realized that several of the stops we’ve made so far, so has the Queen of England.   It was really cool seeing her Ottoman inspired fashion after our travels. It really gave us an even larger appreciation for the fabric, designs, and dye. 

Gonul Paksoy hat poster in her design shop in Istanbul, Turkey

We then headed to Armaggon that was about 4 blocks away.  The multi-floored store features modern and contemporary pieces of jewelry, textiles, and home-office goods. The textiles are created from top fabrics and naturally dyed.  It’s the perfect place to buy a really nice gift or accent your multi-million dollar home. 

The last couple of stores we couldn’t take pictures in because of the delicacy of intellectual property rip-offs for these luxury items and to prevent theft.  It’s not like we don’t have these problems in America, but you kinda wish that ethics was global. *Stepping down from my high horse*

We then did a walking tour of Taksim.  Unfortunately, I spent most of the hour we had available in a store.  Tisk! Tisk!   The streets of Taksim were flooded.  I personally have never seen anything like it in a shopping district and I do a lot of shopping.  To visualize all the people on the street on a Friday afternoon, picture 5th Avenue or the LA Shopping District with a 50% & off tax exempt sale. If people were cars, it would be the equivalent of a 101/405/10/134/110/710/5  interchange at downtown.  Even if I wanted to explore other stores, the crowd wouldn’t allow for it.

After this was over, I was relieved to board the bus for tonight would be our first free night as tomorrow we were free to explore on our own.  😀  I often pictured this day of freedom as the equivalent of removing a chastity belt from a 15 year old boy in a room full of loose women, but it was pretty tame.

We came back to the hotel and worked on our presentations for a couple hours.  Then, we got dressed and headed out to the Sah bar.  A large group of us spent the night dancing away with other tourists and locals.  The Sah Bar played lots of  pop music fused with dance.   It is a cool night spot if you’re in the Sultanhamet district in Istanbul.

After the Sah Bar, we cabbed it to the Supper Club.  Too much techno for my taste, but it was a packed house.   We planned to call it a somewhat early night, but that plan was thwarted watching the sunrise from inside the crowded night club.  So, we headed back to the hotel and slept in for a long morning.

Who knew the people of Istanbul liked to party well beyond 5AM?

Day 18 – Istanbul

 

Back in Istanbul!  Our first stop would be the Topkapi Palace and Harem.  The palace is what fairy tales were based on.   We visited several sites within the palace and it truly felt more like a city than once the home to the royal court and the harem. 

Entering the Topkapi Sarayi Palace in Istanbul

There were many fascinating places within and the palace was so large that we couldn’t see it in its entirety within 5 hours.  I don’t want to do too many spoilers but I want to say that if you’re in Istanbul, make this one of your first stops!  And definitely have scrumptous lunch there… finish your meal with tea and not the Turkish coffee.  I still recommend the Grande Cafe in Sultanhamet for Turkish coffee.   

Inside the Harem in Topkapi Palace in Istanbul

We then went to the Archaeological and Ceramic Museum that were next door.  It was cool seeing the original ceramic and tile work and being able to compare it to newer and re-created design productions. 

Ceramic in The Archaeological and Ceramic Museum

I checked out the Hitit and Egyptian museum alone before leaving because I can’t get enough of the BC Empires and the Hitit is the most facsinating empire to me.  (Thanks, Rochelle)

Lion in the Hitit Exhibit at the Archaeological and Ceramic Museum in Istanbul

I walked back to the hotel and worked on my project for school.  Later, I grabbed some McDonald’s for a late dinner.  The McDonald’s was not good at all.  😦  While the fries were natural and fresh potatoes, the sandwich was cold and the service was bad.  The staff didn’t have the swarm intelligence for prepping orders which made it an extremely long wait in line.    With a cramped stomach, I returned to the hotel and went to sleep.

Oh well, at least tomorrow would be another day in Turkey!