A premium class traveller I am not, but, when the first person greeting you on board a commercial airline (Turkish Air) is wearing a Chef hat and suit, my taste buds rejoiced. So started and continued my trip to Istanbul and I am still working it off after almost 2 months. The stale peanuts of Continental Airlines were replaced by warm Hazelnuts and the Dry bread coated with a slather of margarine (my usual vegetarian meal) by a savory pilaf with real saffron. With my palate satisfied, I nary paid any attention to the tiny turkish women with mile wide shoulders sitting next to me or I should say extending herself into my seat.
An uneventful flight lands us into Istanbul and after paying my US $20 for a turkish visa, I rushed out to meet my cousin who had been waiting for me at the airport Nero (best chai latte ever!) for 6 hours and off we go to our abode for the next 6 nights, Ciragan Palace Kempinski (thanks to a corporate rate from my fellow banker traveler).
A princess I am not, but when you do not even need to go to the registration desk but are comfortably seated in a sofa while a couture clad young lady with all LV office accessories checks you in and walks you to your room (granted it was a wrong room with someone elses luggage) and the doormen (each and everyone) greets you by name every single time you pass them by, you feel like you are royalty.
I am sure I will have a lot more to say about Ciragan Palace in these series of blogs. Heres a glimpse of the “backyard” of the hotel
Our first order of business was to find our way out of this wonderful quiet neighborhood along the Bosphorus Strait and into the busyness of Sultanahmet.
Despite the continuous downpour we got to Eminounou via the tram and off we headed to Rustom Pasha Camii. Rustom Pasha was recommended by an English friend of mine, a frequent visitor to Istanbul. We could see the dome of the mosque but had a tough time finding the entrance. It is around the corner from the plastics and kitchen tool store, into the alley and next to the kebab shop.
There is no shortage of grand camiis in Istanbul and Rustom Pasha can easily be missed. But I am thankful to my friend for the suggestion since the scale of the camii actually affords you the opportunity to go examine the tile work closely.
It is one of the few mosques where you can go close to the mihrab without using a telephoto lens (just be respectful of the boundaries set up for visitors, after all this is a place of worship)
|Close up of the mosque exterior|
|Brass and mother of pearl inlay on the main door|
|Looking at Rustom Pasha from the square|
|Rustom Pasha in the forefront and Sulemaniya Camii up the hill in the back left|
|Minaret fo the New Mosque|
|New Mosque Dome|