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Saturday, April 15, 2006

TRAVELBLOG: Istanbul

What a refreshing change of weather from Egypt (luxor) to Turkey (istanbul). Luxor was real warm and Istanbul became a stark contrast-- VERY cold (although it was only about 50 deg Fah). *But I miss Egypt-- cheaper!!!!*

Let me get right on this-- we are about to leave for some touristy thingie again in a few minutes. Yesterday we went to:

The Blue Mosque (called blue mosque because the tiles inside were blue!) Hagia Sophia, now a museum, used to be a church then later a mosque. There are some remaining mosaics which depicts Mary and Jesus (as a child), as well as the angel Gabriel. This mosque/church/ museum by the way is considered the 3rd largest church in the world-- after Basilica of St.Peter at the Vatican, and the St. Paul's Cathedral in London.

Oh lookie, there were these men who carried these silver jars at the back-- they were selling apple tea :D *for tourists only-- the city center doesn't have these men selling tea in this getup :) so cute though!*

We then proceeded to the underground Cistern-- formerly used to store water for the city. Movie relation: James Bond flick (Sean Connery) where James went through the cistern in a small boat. :) *everything relates to a movie!!!! think Egypt with the Mummy hehe.. Ohh did we piss off our guide by mentioning Imhotep and Anuck Sun Amun :D*

Anyway post Cistern, we walked all the way to the Topkapi Palace which houses the 3rd largest diamond in the world-- the Spoon diamond which weighs in at 86 carats!!! Pear shape, rose cut. This was an insane story. It was said that a peasant found this uncut rock in some rubbish in the city and decided to show it to the palace to have it appraised since he didn't really know what it was or how much it would be. Some representative from the Palace treasury said that he will exchange the diamond with two silver spoons which the guy gladly took!!! Holy crap. I'd give him US$ 1,500 (my bag budget) for it *hehehee*

The Palace also houses the very famous Topkapi dagger (movie relation: Pink panther; Topkapi). The dagger is just... jawdropping when you see it. It has THREE large cabochon emeralds (the size of an infant's fist-- EACH)!!! I tried to take a photo but the lady gendarme saw me and told me "NO PHOTOS!" hehehe I am not a conformist, damnit! :D

There was also this beautiful bejewelled aigrette with a HUGE ruby cabochon and two large emeralds. Geeeez!!!!

We stopped by the Palace restaurant for a quick lunch-- I had this typical Turkish fare-- Lamb Kebab *yummmy*Ok, post Topkapi, we went to the Grand Bazaar where I practically went wild *hahaha*

The bazaar has all these beautiful mosaic lanterns, look at the colors!!!!Amazing ceramic plates (which I just HAD to buy-- and don't ask me how we'll bring em home)

Pashminas left right and centerKeychains and door decor like the Huge blue EYE (Turkey is famous for this), as well as those ceramic balls.

Bags (which included a LOT OF FAKES!! ugh), and more Carpet bags :D *if you can't afford to buy a whole silk carpet, just get a silk carpet bag hehee.. for US$ 500! geeeez*

There were also these copper and brass lamps ala Aladdin :D *hehe I should have bought one-- maybe I might have my own genie-- in which case, I'll ask for the HUGE diamond and the bejewelled Aigrette hahaha*

And JEWELRY!!! TONS OF IT!!! All these amazing antique settings and old diamond cuts!!! I swore my eyes were practically popping out of their sockets!! *I NEED MONEY!! MUCHO!!!* hehehe

Anyway that's all for now, I hafta head out!!

P.S. Hello, friends in high places brag *cough cough ok I'm a braggart* alert! Ruffa GB. and I touched base already. So sweet of her to contact me :) Unfortunately I am doing the toursity thing with my family today or I would've gone shopping with her this pm! (I dread it though, I am practically financially drained already, thanks to Club Beymen-- and it's just Day 1!! Hehee)

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