Leanbean in Germany

Military wife trying to figure out this military life

Istanbul – Topkapi Palace and Bosphorus Cruise February 27, 2011

Filed under: Europe,Traveling — leanbean @ 10:13 am

Topkapi Palace is located behind the Hagia Sophia.  The Palace was the Ottoman Sultan’s residence until 1856.

Topkapi Palace was ok.  It wasn’t our favorite sight in Istanbul.  There were buildings that housed a lot of weapons but we didn’t really spend too much time in there nor did we take pictures.  The weather may have also contributed to us not being happy at the place since it was cold and rainy.

The other thing we did on the cold and rainy day was take a Bosphorus Cruise.  We honestly could have skipped this because the cruise consists of seeing a couple of palaces from the water and a bunch of run down houses.  The cruise would have been better in the Spring or Summer months.

Once we were done with the cruise and Topkapi Palace it was around 2 in the afternoon with nothing to do.  We sat our butts down at a cafe for a good 4 hours.  We drank, ate, played video games on Joe’s phone and read.  It was probably the best thing we did the entire trip.  If only I had pictures of the American college girls who sat behind us and entertained us with their conversation for an hour.


Istanbul – The Grand Bazaar

Filed under: Europe,Traveling — leanbean @ 9:58 am

The Grand Bazaar was possibly my favorite part of the trip.  Most of the shops were selling rugs, leather goods, pottery, jewelry and turkish towels/bathroom stuff.  We made our way to the Grand Bazaar on Saturday for a couple of hours in the afternoon.  Due to us being there in the off season the shops were working extra hard at selling their goods.  We thought we would come home with a rug but I wasn’t willing to shell out the $450 for a rug I wasn’t sure would last with the beasts.  Plus we didn’t really have a place for a rug at the moment.  What we did come home with were leather goods and some apple tea.

At the entrance with my brand new (fake) Mulberry Alexa bag made out of real leather.  I was only able to find two things inconsistant with the fake to the real Alexa but with a savings of over $1,000 I’ll take it!

The entire bazaar is covered and is more like a mall with shops and restaurants.

Another Bazaar we visited was the Egyptian Bazaar which sold mostly spices.


Istanbul – Blue Mosque and Basilica Cistern

Filed under: Europe,Traveling — leanbean @ 9:42 am

Despite visiting Istanbul in February we were able to enjoy nice weather three of the four days we were there.  We walked around with no set agenda for most of the trip and had a great time.  The Turkish people were very nice but always trying to sell you something, which I found amusing.  I have also never seen so many rug shops in my life.  On our little street by the hotel there were at least five to ten shops selling just rugs.  Unfortunately, we did not come home with one despite one shop owner’s great price of $450 for a vintage kilim – he started out at $1250.  The only souvenirs we came home with were a magnet, two wallets, a purse and two amazing chocolate souffles in my belly.

The Blue Mosque from our hotel rooftop

Inside the Blue Mosque

Basilica Cistern – which was right across the street from the Hagia Sofia.  Had we not been searching for an ATM we probably wouldn’t have seen the door to the entrance.

The upside down Medusa head used from another building



Istanbul – Hagia Sofia

Filed under: Europe,Traveling — leanbean @ 9:21 am

Here you go dad…

Last weekend we took a four day trip to Istanbul.  We flew Turkish Air which was really nice and stayed at Hotel Uyan which is located here at letter “A”:

We could not have picked a better location for a hotel if we tried.  Here is the view from the roof:

Our hotel was right next to Sultanahmet Square which is where the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sofia, Topkapi Palace and the Basilica Cistern are located.

Hagia Sofia

Inside of the Hagia Sofia