Istanbul walkaround

Friday, July 23

Friday we headed out on foot/metro to see if we could get a look at the University of Istanbul. We ran into Tim Armstrong and he joined us for the first leg. We caught the metro at Tophane and took it into the old city to the Sultanahmet stop. We did a little tourist-with-a-map scene and decided on a direction. Soon we saw the University gate. After a few “front of gate” pics, we approached the guards expecting to be refused entry. To our delight they waved us through into the campus.

The green space inside is divided by a lovely tree-lined lane leading up to the main administrative building. The first building we looked into was a very fancy building with tables laid for dining. We were not allowed to take interior pictures, but we were invited in to get a peek and it was opulent. Ornate furniture, painted walls, beautiful ceramics. I don’t know who gets to eat here, but they are VIPs for sure.

We took a glance in the astronomy building and the astrolabe out front.

Next we encountered the Beyazıt Tower, an 85 meter tall fire tower built in 1828.

When we got to the main administrative building, we saw there was some kind of function going on. Folks were showing credentials to the guards and getting entry. We approached and asked if we were allowed inside. Yes. Turns out this was a “yield” day. They were wooing potential students. Parents and students were sitting with faculty talking about their programs. There was a speech, handouts, a slide-show on a loop. We felt right at home.

After we exited the campus, Tim headed off for his adventures and Kathy and I went looking for the Grand Bazaar. We spent a lot of time with one tile vendor in his incredibly cool (as in refrigerated) shop. Kathy found some tiles she liked, but as we had been instructed, we did not buy, but rather looked for another vendor to compare quality and price. Of course, since all prices are negotiated, it takes some time to comparison shop. We did wind up going back to buy the tiles after lunch.

Then on to the spice market. We only sort-of got lost on the way there. We passed a lot of streets with shops obviously meant for Istanbul residents. Wedding garb, cookware, baby clothes… After asking directions once or twice, we popped out in front of the main gate for the spice market. We were pretty beat by then. The only thing we bought there was some dried fruit.

Then back to the ship for a rest-up.