In Dolmabahçe Palace there were crystals everywhere with each chandelier bigger, brighter, and heavier than the next. Then we entered the Ceremonial Hall--wow! I've been to Versailles and nothing compared to this room. The Bohemian crystal chandelier, a gift from Queen Victoria, weighs 4.5 tons. My first thought was...somebody has to clean this! On our way back to the apartment for lunch we stopped off at the bakery to pick up our fresh bread for one TL (about 50 cents Canadian). The baker reached into the stone oven with his paddle and offered us two piping hot bread sticks with his compliments. They smelled like happiness--those crystals didn't smell like anything--another life lesson?
When we first came to Istanbul we had a copy of the Tortoise Trainer hanging in our room at the Ottoman Legacy. I have to admit I mocked it, perhaps suggesting that the turtles were coughing up wee bits of lettuce after being beaten with a stick. The original is at the Pera Museum here in Istanbul. After spending a considerable amount of time with this 3.5 million dollar painting I believe I have developed a fondness for it. The tortoise whisperer, so to speak, is trying to train the slow learning creatures by coaxing them with a flute and feeding them choice greens. It is an apparent satirical comment on the Ottoman Empire. Sorry Osman Hamdi Bey. I simply didn't understand--another life lesson!
You are always in my Prayers. Love Mom.