Sittin’ Around with Turkish Carpets Drinkin’ Turkish Tea- June 19th


I am currently in a very crabby mood as I write this blog post, mainly for two reasons. The bottoms of my feet are throbbing in bruised pain from walking around the city all day in thin sandals with the uneven cobbled stoned streets digging into my arches with every step. Secondly, because it was pouring rain as we walked home from the Grand Bazaar.

Thirdly, because we had to leave the Grand Bazaar early because my family is a bunch of whiners and it was gonna close soon. Fourthly, because I regret not bringing my computer so that I could write my blogs on it, upload my photos, and keep it simple as I always do. BUT NO of course somebody had to convince me to bring a stupid i pad and keyboard because its lighter. I DONT CARE my computer is better. Fifthly because my brothers take WAY TOO long in the bathroom (which they use individually and don’t allow others to every come in while they’re in). They probably take 45 minutes each just to shower and of course go number two because they can’t seem to go 30 minutes without having to do that I CAN’T LIVE WITH THEM ANYMORE WOW.

Today was a history, walking tour day and we started off by exploring the palace of the Sultan. Don’t ask me for the names/details because I can assure you I don’t remember. But I DO remember the gorgeous architecture, textiles, and scenery surrounding the wonderful castle. Comparatively to Versailles (the only other palace I’ve been to) this one was not so balance/structure-oriented but was completely unique at every turn, spontaneous in its tree/plant placings, and filled with differentiating patterns and textures. Many parts of the castle were built at different times in history and this is evident through the varying types of tiles seen, from porcelain blue and white floral squares to renaissance/european-like paisley/classical wallpaper adorned with gold detailing (more reminiscent of the Versailles look). All throughout the rooms and palace were scriptures and words/phrases/names written in Turkish (or what looks like Arabic or some other east asian language) most likely handwritten/painted in a beautiful gold ink. At the mosques we learned that the giant disks with these letter/symbols on them were the names of the prophet Muhammad and his disciples. The edges of the palace were right along the coast and we got a beautiful view of the shimmering water and the boats dancing along its top, tempting me to just run out there and steal a sailboat. I would kill to do that here. It’s crazy to think the Turks ruled so much land before World War I (like all of North Africa and so much of the continent of Asia and of Europe) and then it was split up into all of the european countries we know today, like Britain and Italy and Greece and everything! And it’s even crazier to think that this palace has been here since 1200 something, and that they’ve ruled since that time until around 1914 or 1917 or something of the sort. Pretty dang long time.

Afterwards we went over to the Hagia Sofia. What used to be a grandiose mosque (and before that a church) is now a walking museum for tourists and it’s currently under renovation (as are pretty much most of these ancient historical landmarks because they might be crumbling if they weren’t being taken care of). Anyways it was a gorgeous sight to set your eyes on, especially if you tilted your head upwards to explore the intricate details of the domes (those of which are the biggest domes in the world!) and gaze at the beautiful alter and walk up to the higher parts of the mosque where you can look down at all the tourists and pretend they are ants. Afterwards we got lunch, which consisted of some delicious meatball sandwiches and a light salad with white beans, lettuce, some olive oils and salts, tomato, onion, and just deliciousness. It was one of my favorite meals so far! We then headed to an area underground where the Turks started one of their first water systems (kind of like the Romans and their aqueducts) and we got to learn a bit about the story of Medusa (the one with snake hair who turns people who look into her eyes to stone). It was a fascinating story, especially for me because I love all of those mythical tales and greek mythology and all those spiritual things. I mean, who DOESN’T like to read about their horoscope?? Go Saggitarius!! Then we explored the Blue Mosque, where we had to put on shawls to cover our heads, make sure we were wearing something to cover our legs, and of course our shoulders. We also had to take our shoes off. The place smelt of dirty feet which was gross but the carpet was soft! Interesting fat: men and women in mosques are segregated in their prayer areas! Another interesting fact: in the Muslim religion they pray (to Allah) five times a day, all the times spread out pretty much equally through the day and they change depending on season because they are dependent on the rise and fall of the sun! Lastly we saw another underground area (where were looked at tiny displaces of trays holding clay pots, basically a not very interesting stop) followed by a fun carpet adventure. We got to see how the famous Turkey rugs and carpets are hand-made and BOY it makes sense why they are so pricy! It was insane to watch one of the ladies hand do every tiny little knot, and how important each one is! It can take up to two years to make a rug!!! They were beautiful though, in all different shapes, textures, colors, styles, and patterns. We also got served some refreshments and I had apple tea, which was delicious. I also love Turkish tea. For any person it was probably a very strange sight to see a bunch of americans rolling around (literally) on a bunch of thousand dollar turkish rugs while turkish men watched. LASTLY we went to the Grand Bazaar. It was a brief trip but luckily we are returning tomorrow. I have a very chic, artistic eye as well as expensive taste (its a blessing and a curse, considering I OF COURSE went to a vendor and picked out the one most expensive piece of jewelry out of his hundreds and it turned out being around 15,000 liras (oh no big deal or anything by the way 10 liras is worth about 5 US dollars). You can assume i DIDNT get it. Personally I think I am a very intelligent shopper, well except for the extreme impulses and not frugal whatsoever part. I am good at catching on to what things are cheap and good to skip over/neglect as well as which shops to search in and I always catch great buys out of the corner of my eye. I also am good at catching on to trends as well as predicting what will be popular soon and honestly I just think I have really good taste: is that a bit too over confident? I think it would be such an awesome job to be somebody’s personal shopper or designer/stylist or something! Allie told me she wanted me to shop for her! I’d gladly do it. But going back ON TOPIC it didn’t take me long to get a bit frustrated with vendor after vendor selling the exact same jewelry with these annoying sparkly diamonds and such and I was just looking for unique stuff that I expected to find at a flee market, based on my experience and wisdom of the rose bowl, fairfax, etc. Plus the vendors are RIDICULOUSLY pushy and agressive and constantly trying to talk to you. Even if you say no they don’t stop because they literally don’t know what it means or something. So after getting lost on the way home in the rain with bruised feet I am back in my hotel room (which is super cold and I don’t even think I know how to turn the air down correctly) and my feet still hurt and my eyelids are shutting but I just know I can’t fall asleep because I need to adjust to the time still which is pretty much like opposite and ugh okay well now I am in a sweatshirt and all is good again. Can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings for me, and I’ve got a super cute outfit planned. Yay!

~xoxo Ali~




IMG_3910IMG_4032Sam and Matthew chillin’ on Turkish rugs


making a rug!



the Sultan’s crib

IMG_3888 2




Allie and I in front at the Blue Mosque



Blending in to the Islamic culture ya feel




the tale of MEDUSA!




interesting lollipop thingy on the street that Allie tried



outside of the Blue Mosque!



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