Monday, June 30, 2008

Along the Bosphorus and inside a palace

Hundreds of paintings, tons of English crystal and acres of French furniture -- and you got a Turkish palace

Dolmabahce (Dol-mah-Bah-Chee) Palace, built at the turn of the last century as the Ottoman Empire was in decline and people in Turkey living in abject poverty, it has 285 rooms of which 43 are bathrooms, fussy French furniture, hundreds of dark paintings of seascapes and more English crystal chandeliers than I've ever imagined outside a chandelier factory. Actually, the boat ride past was more impressive than the tour we took later. You had to put pink plastic booties over your shoes but were still exhorted to stay off the stunning parquet floors and on the red rug. Our guide spoke seven languages, but all he mostly said was "No flashes please," and "Don't touch" in an endless round of English, Turkish, Spanish, German etc. The furnishings and paintings did not change enough to make many of those 285 rooms stand out with two exceptions...the dazzling reception hall where Kemal Ataturk's body lay in state and the last sultan tried his best to hide the crumbling state of his empire in front of foreign dignitaries and the hallway that ran just above this hall with special little mirrors so that women, forbidden from participating in public ceremonies, could peak down.

1 comment:

Rosemary Armao said...

From Mom: hope that this has proved to you that my system of being on time is certainly better than your haphazard way of doing things!

It reminded me -- do you remember -- the episode of "I Love Lucy" when she missed the boat going to Europe and had to be dropped off onto the ship from a helicopter?

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