Day 06 – Istanbul – Bucleon Palace, Little Hagia Sophia, Yedikule Fortress, Whirling Dervish, and Feral Cats

If today seems like it is all about feral cats – it is because it is!

Istanbul is filled with feral cats – some cute and cuddly but most you wouldn’t want to touch. They are sad.

We started off by walking down to the sea wall – where the ruin of the 5th century Bucleon Palace barely juts out of the wall.  There we saw a feral cat and her kittens that I swear is the same cat I met 2 years ago – very cute – and very cuddly – very affectionate.  I think it remembered me.  It had the cutest litter of kittens you ever saw and they kept coming out to greet us one by one.

I did a great job remembering where the Bucleon Palace was – not so much where the train station to Yedikule was.  We walked for a while and found the Little Hagia Sophia Mosque (formerly a church) and it was worth the wandering because it is very pretty. It also had a neat graveyard with some very decorative stones.

There a little girl handed me a weed like it was a flower and then charged me 1 TL. It was very funny – all the little kids were trying to give the adults weeds and charging them – I think I was the only one who paid.

After getting directions from several Turkish men who all told me it was 500 meters down the road and left at the fish restaurant (of course it felt like we walked for miles trying to find it) we did eventually get on the train for Yedikule.

I love this castle – it is awesome.  Half of it is 5th century – made up of the original Theodosian Land walls of Constantinople – and the other half is 15th century Ottoman which enclosed the walls into a fortress.  Like previous years there was no one there and you could walk and explore and climb and it was pretty neat going in and out of the towers and walking along the walls seeing some amazing views of the city and the sea.

After the fortress we headed for dinner. Last year I found a place that had a little show – musicians and a whirling Dervish – we made a reservation which it turns out was a napkin places on the table with the time on it. He put us right in front and let me film everything.  Dinner was good – we had unusually attentive service and it was fun watching the people eat and smoke the hooka.

One funny bit is that after dinner Amanda had her glass of Turkish tea and since we stayed for the second show she had a second glass of Turkish tea and then the manager liked us so much (because we left a tip) he brought us two free glasses of Turkish tea and Amanda had both of them (because I only really like the apple tea).

Tomorrow we head to Dolmabahce Palace!

Enjoy the photos – especially the sampling of The Feral Cats of Istanbul.

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