Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Monday, October 31, 2011

Monday Musings - the Wonders of Turkey

Flying into Istanbul was surreal. I'd studied Constantinople in school, and of course, I'd seen photos of the Blue Mosque, with its six minarets dotting the landscape. But nothing prepared me for the actual experience of being there.

local bazaar
local bazaar
Our hotel was a good distance from the area of the city where you can see the Blue Mosque and the Grand Bazaar, but we had a lovely view of the Bosphorus Sea. As we explored the neighborhood, we found ourselves in a local bazaar - simply streets lined with vendors. Here, no one spoke English and there were no touristy items for sale. It was the real deal. I was starving, so we went into a shop and I simply pointed at the stuffed grape leaves. I needed a napkin, though and the server didn't get what I meant when I mimed. Then hubs saw a napkin by the cash register, so he went and got it - they got so excited, told me the Turkish word for it and demanded to know the English word. I had to repeat it several times. It was a delightful experience.

View of Palace from Bosphorus
That night, we were invited to the home of a man who had been a foreign exchange student in my husband's hometown in Texas. His wife made several traditional Turkish dishes and it was a lovely way to begin our Turkish adventure.

Day one of our sightseeing began with a visit to Dolmabahce Palace, the opulent home of the 31st Sultan, Abdulmecid I. It was built between the years 1843 and 1856. It is the largest palace in Turkey and was home to six sultans from 1856 to 1924, the year after Turkey became a republic.

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder and first President of the Republic of Turkey enacted some of his most important deeds here. One is not allowed to take photographs inside the Palace, so here are some pictures, courtesy of Wikapedia.

Basilica Cistern
The Basilica Cistern, an ancient underground water supply was next.  

Entrance to Grand Bazaar

Then it was time to visit the world's first shopping mall - the Grand Bazaar. One must have very sharp bargaining skills in order to make good purchases. I got a little bit better as I went along. Biggest secret. At one point, I decided not to make the purchase and started to leave. The vendor came down so low, I ended up buying. And it wasn't even a ploy on my part.

More tomorrow...

P.S. I'd like to thank Donna Shields http://donna-realworldwriting.blogspot.com/ for passing along the One Lovely Blog award to me. I am very grateful and you should all check out Donna's lovely blog. But I have decided not to participate in blog awards anymore. They are a lovely way to find out about new blogs and to honor each other, but they are so so time-consuming and I'm struggling with managing my time online. So thank you, Donna. I really do appreciate you thinking of me.


Claudia Moser said...

Lovely photos! I also liked Turkey!

Ann said...

Beautiful photos...what an exciting trip. I loved bazaar shopping when in Turkey. It is a bit of an art though. And like you I discovered the art by pure accident.

Bish Denham said...

I almost feel like I'm there. Constantinople, such an historical place. I'd love to visit it.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

The palace looks magnificent! And now at least one Turkish native knows how to say napkin thanks to you.

Karen Walker said...

Claudia, the only thing I didn't like was the traffic. With 15 million people and no infrastructure to support it, the vehicular traffic was horrific.
Ann, yeah, it was an interesting learning experience.
Bish, the history is what drew me there.
Alex, hope they have better luck retaining how to say it than me remembering how to say napkin in Turkish!

welcome to my world of poetry said...

A wonderful journey through Turkey, thanks for sharing.


Michelle Fayard said...

Hi, Karen,

I haven't been able to get an e-mail message to send to you for the last week, so I'm not sure if you have received the mailing address for the winner of your book. If not, could you please contact me at mefayard(at)yahoo(dot)com? Thanks!


Belle said...

This was wonderful to read about and see the photos. I've never been there but this makes me want to go.

Jules said...

This trip of yours is starting to remind me of a Bette Midler song, "around the world in.." off her live album. :)

Your pictures are fab!
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Karen Walker said...

Yvonne, you are welcome.
Michelle, my writing email stopped working - i'll get in touch
Belle, I highly recommend it
Jules, yeah, it does

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I am loving your photos. Next time I go overseas, look out. With a digital camera, I'm shooting everything!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Karen .. what a lovely time - finding the local bazaar - that must have been interesting ...

Did you know that chap beforehand? .. it must have been lovely having delicious Turkish dishes.

Wonderful Palace .. great photos and story -thanks Karen .. cheers Hilary