300 girlfriends

On Ric and Marg’s advice Topcapi list was where went today.
Our hotels location is brilliant so it was another short walk along the waterfront. There was quite a line up for tickets (“THIS is why we need to leave before 9, NOT, before 10!”). The Firthies had a little but of trouble when the ticket vendors didn’t believe Ella was under 12 and so could get in for free as a child and Leanne and Donald didn’t have her passport to prove it. Happily the lady was friendly enough and let them through. It was a huge complex including large grounds, gardens, pools, mosques- the works. We split up some following dad with the audio guide and those not wanting to go on at a snail’s pace.
It was a shame that the setup of the artifacts and information wasn’t brilliant because there was an awful lot of uninformed looking at arabic tablets and decorative tiles. The treasury held an expanse of various sultans’ possessions from elaborate official costumes to the most intricately decorated basinette complete with emerald, diamonds, rubies and so much gold. We contemplated stealing it for Lauren and James but realized our luggage was already over weight when we flew over!
One of the most interesting pieces was the “spoon maker’s diamond” which is the 5th largest in the world but was discovered in a rubbish tip by a street urchin who sold it on the street for 3 spoons. I think it was unanimously agreed the man receiving the 3 spoons ended up with a MUCH better deal.
We all had a good laugh when we discovered some of Mohammed’s beard hairs on display!
The palace even had a circumcision room and one for the eunuchs who looked after the sultans’ Harem. Explaining to Elijah what a harem was was funny. “He had 300 girlfriends, wowwww!”. One sultan had no fewer than 112 children!
By 2:00 we were well and truly ready for lunch but 13 of us trying to find each other again was no mean feat. Not to mention the gale force winds ripping branches of trees!
Donald was happy today because the kebap shop we went to for lunch was a bargain he’d sniffed out. 5 lira for a kebap and a bottle of water. Dad’s effort yesterday was 7 lira and no water. Who is the king of bargains now!?
We split up from here and Maddie, mum, Sue, Rob, Leanne and I went clothes shopping while the others went home to play soccer.
We managed to catch the right tram and funicular to reach the shops but mum lost 5 lira in the process when she went to buy tram tokens because she wanted two and when the first one came out she accidentally mistook it for a coin and put it in again as well as another 5 lira which jammed the machine.
Shopping was fine except when mum told me to go to the shop next door to the one they were in and meet her there. 45 minutes later we met up! It was four floors and even with Leanne and Maddie looking we couldn’t find each other. We managed to find a Starbucks though which I was happy about because it’s the first coffee I’ve had on the trip since Starbucks has soy milk and it’s impossible to find anywhere else!

(also apologies for any funny typos or bizarre full stops in any old blog posts and future ones. The iPad likes to autocorrect!)

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Filed under 2012, Ankara to Athens, Gallery

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