First stop is a long queue outside of Topkali Palace, however we paid an approaching guide to get straight in………yes it was worth it. He who thinks he should be obeyed does not do queues in tourist lines. He reckons if you are happy to pay for some thing then you are not being ripped off? (Perhaps I should add the word ‘discuss’ here and expect comments from readers?…..yes feel free!) We were handed over to a guide with a Turkish transatlantic twang who led us around the harem. Gilded cages for the Sultan’s ladies springs to mind. Very intriguing place but perhaps a lonely place for the ladies as they got older and no longer the fig of the sultan’s eye. Cool marble on hot days, high on a hill overlooking the Golden Horn and Bosphorus with perhaps just Eunuchs for company. Not ideal unless they filled their days knitting carpets or jamming figs and dates?
Loads of sycamore trees in the gardens and loads of people despite December being the quiet time. However the amount of visitors was not a problem even though my comments might hint at that.
We scanned the exhibitions of gold and clothing but the harem for me was definitely the most interesting and photogenic. I also loved the views stretching across the Golden Horn, you are close to Hagia Sofia and the Blue Mosque so if history is your thing stay close by in the old quarter as there are plenty of restaurants and hotels to choose from. We stayed at Hotel Neorion and were well looked after.
Read about our food experiences at Indulgent food journey across Istanbul