January 15 in Istanbul by Mandy

Posted on January 15th, 2012 by

Today was, once again, a beautiful day in Istanbul. First, our tour guide Ender (the man, the myth, the legend) took us to Dolmabahce Palace, which was mind-boggling. It was built in 1856 and, surprisingly, Mimar Sinan was not the master architect. After Sultan Selim III was murdered in Topkapi Palace, the move to this equally extravagantly beautiful place was made. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk later resided and eventually died in Dolmabahce. In the room in which he expired they stopped the clock, at 9:05, and now when people drive by at that time they still honk their horns in homage. It contains 265 rooms and sits right next to the Bosphorus. We had to wear silly little booties over our shoes in order to not destroy the carpet, and unfortunately for all of you, we were not allowed to take any pictures inside. There were swans, chickens, and hundreds of delightful Turkish cats about as well. After the palace we decided to keep it simple and go to Asia for lunch. We went to the highest point in Istanbul and looked out over the city, while sharing our lunches with more lovely cats. After a short period for recuperation following lunch, it was off to the soccer game! First we all bought jerseys, scarves, and hats for the full Turkish fan immersion experience, and then we went off to a little restaurant nearby for a quick dinner before the game. Celal toured us around the neighborhood, which was swarming with Besiktas fans, and we learned some Turkish chants and cheers. Everyone at the game were supporters of Besiktas (Asli’s brother Celal’s favorite team) and they played against another team called Bursaspor. Besiktas is not only the oldest team in this league, but it is the team of the working class, as opposed to Bursaspor, which is associated with the Ottoman elite. Celal translated all the chants that were going on for the entire game and explained the various traditions so we could really be a part of the experience. Besiktas is known for their voracity, profanity, and their poetic love songs. The game was intense (I’ve never seen so many penalties!) but our team prevailed with a final score of 3-1! Even on the ride home in the tram, the air was filled with singing and drum beating! All in all it was a successful day in Istanbul thanks to all our wonderful Turkish friends!!!!!!



  1. Pat Blakeslee says:

    Hi Mandy, Hope to see pictures, especially of “those lovely Turkish cats.” Gpat

  2. David Blakeslee says:

    Good post…Keep it going (and feed a few Turkish cats for me.)