I think our lesson for other traveling to Istanbul is not to arrive on Friday. Being Sunday, even though things were closed the whole atmosphere was more relaxed and more relaxing. After an interesting omelet for breakfast we took the walk through Macka Park to Dolmabahce Palace.
Dolmabahce Palace was the last palace built by the Sultans and was then used as the residence of Ataturk who is known as the father of modern Turkey and the first democratically elected president of Turkey. There are two main parts as there are of most palaces in the Middle East the Sultan’s palace where they did most of the diplomatic activities and hosting of dignitaries and the Harem (Haram) area which really means forbidden as those are fundamentally family quarters and not open for the dignitaries or official government buildings.
In order to preserve the woodwork and the floors, we had to put on plastic shoe covers and we were also not allowed to take pictures inside the palace. There are a ton of chandeliers and very delicate painting throughout that could be damaged by multiple flashes and other photography. The grounds were very beautiful and the swan fountain and the gates and views of the Bosphorus were amazing.
After enjoying both the sultan’s palace and harem tour, we sat down and had some water, before wandering the grounds a little more and finally heading to a cafe for tea and Fanta. Now just taking some time to upload the blog and catch up. We have to talk through plans after we get back from Cairo to see if are headed to Izmir, Bodrum to finish our time in Turkey.