Enjoyed a good nights sleep after changing to a different room in the same hotel. It is higher up so less street and reception noise and no street light shining in like a flood light. Also the breakfast this morning was fantastic, they had mountains of food, really fresh and heaps of variety but only a couple of people in the hotel.... All the more for me ( also was super cheap and grabbed a couple of things to take for my lunch as they were so tasty)
Walked out across the Galata bridge. Again enjoying strolling along looking at all the activity on the water. I have never before been interested in boats and watching a harbor but here it is really nice. The sun was shining and a large cruise ship was at the international port.
Caught the underground tunnel, a small underground train that is 137 years old. They were very proud of that fact and several signs were displaying the history. I was a short ride maybe 3 or 4 mins in a little red carriage. Walked out and into the Melevi lodge. It is a monastery for a sect of the Sufis ( whirling dervishes) was a small museum and performance hall. Walked down to the Galata tower. Was able to catch and elevator up to the viewing level. It provided a great view over Istanbul and due to the clear sunny day could see the princes islands. As I have spent a few days walking around now I was amazed how many of the key building I could recognize. The Bosporus and Galata bridges, the main mosques and topakai palace, views up the golden horn.
Once down I wanted to walk to the church of SS Peter and Paul. I was armed with two different maps and guides book I couldn't find it. I am sure I must have walked right past as I wondered around in circles for a while looking everywhere for it. Gave up as I didn't want to waste to much time looking for a not that interesting church. Walked down and caught the metro tram to the end of the line at kabatas. Notices that there were several signs for ferries to princes island, will have to remember that as I am interested if time permits to head out there for a half day visit.
Walked to the Dolmabahce palace. Once past security I joined the longest line for a tourists site ever I think. I would have been close to 200m long of people trying to buy tickets for entry and the best bit only one ticket was open. Joined the line at 11:25am and that is were I am currently waiting. I am guessing it will probably take an hour or so in line to get a ticket...
Also took the time in line to read some if the history from the guide books about turkey.
After an hour and a bit I was able to buy a ticket. Super excited that my student card was accepted so only had to pay about a 1/4 of the price. Once inside the gates walked to the main side entrance where the tours start. You can't just walk around the palace by yourself, only allowed in on a guided tour. And there was another line to join... Shouldn't have been surprised but there was an English tour starting in about 15 mins and was lucky to my way into the first 1pm tour due to them needed a single to make up the number. The palace was built in 1856 in a European style with French and Austrian influences. The chief interior decorator was french and this reflected with the soft furnishings and style of the rooms. No photos were allowed inside. After and hour of walking around look at all the crystal Chandliers, gold detailing and craved features the tour was over. Slipped off my plastic shoes covers and Walked around the the other side of the building for a tour of the harem. Was another shirt wait in line and then this massive group off us were I taken inside. The guide walked off at the front and didn't see or hear him again till close to the end. Was alright just wondered thought the room looking for yourself. Was able to sneak a couple a pictures. There was difference between to the apartment of the sultans mother and then less opulence as you worked down in order from wives and favorites and then maids and house servants in small plain rooms. They must have been still short people even in the 19th century as the bed were short, like maybe a meter 70 or 80cm. I was surprised I thought they might have grown a little from the 16th century size thing. On display in the other palace.
Walked out and it was too late to get the ferry to the princes lsland so caught the metro instead back into sultanahmet and thought I would spend the after having a look around a couple of the museum I hadn't had the chance to visit yet. Walked around and also found the mosaic museum with getting lost only to learn it was closed for renovations. There is talk it will be open soon so will try and keep that in mind for when I am back in Istanbul at the end of July. Walked around then to the museum of Islamic and Turkish art. They had a beautiful display of carpets from the 400 years or so. Also examples of intrinic wooden inlay work. Must look up about Islamic art as I thought they used only geometrical patterns and not images of living things but on display where pieces with fish and flowers in the design. Enjoyed a delicious cup of tea in the courtyard over looking the blue mosque. Am hoping that the sore throat I am starting to feel will go away.
Walked out towards the archeology museum. Was by staff that it was open till 7pm to should have had almost enough time to look through it. As I was paying to enter noticed a one ticket multiple museum pass. Would have been good to see that at the start of the day or a couple of days but I have seen most of the museums I am interested in. Anyway once inside I walked quickly through the museum of the ancient orient. It has some interesting pieces from ancient Egypt. Walked over to the main building which has 4 floors of artifacts. The lower level had dozen of craved sarcophagus left behind by ancient civilizations around turkey and the middle east. They were very impressive to look at and carved with such detail. Was a bit creepy looking at coffins in a way hope they were empty. The first floor was some Byzantine era things. The 2nd floor has items from excavations at the site of Troy. Was interesting to learn about the 6 different civilizations that have occupied the site. Watched a DVD about the excavation of the site. The 3rd flor had items from Syria and Cyprus.
Was heading out when I realized I hadn't been into what looked like a small ancient sculpture gallery. Walked through and came to an exhibition about the history of Istanbul. Was very interesting to learn about the civilizations that have lived here. Was about half way through when security told me it was time to leave. Wasnt that close to 7pm but they walked me out. Wish I had been able to spend a bit more time in that exhibition but it wasn't sign posted that well so didn't realize it was there. Looking at the Troy history has made me excited to visit the site in a few weeks.
Strolled back to the hotel as I think that it enough walking for the day. Shoes are starting to make a squeaking noise which I will take as a sign to call it a day.
Was able to finally find an English news channel. The tv has close to 800 channels and I have found two in English. One is middle east news and the other is BBC.