Forts and Fish

Trip Start Jun 07, 2008
Trip End Jun 28, 2009

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Where I stayed

Flag of Turkey  , Cappadocia,
Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Yesterday, after school with mom, we went to see the Rumeli castle, which we saw from the boat on Sunday. It was built by Mehmet and his soldiers in only four months to conquer Constantinople. It is a huge fort, with walls all around, an amphitheatre inside, and even a mosque. We tried to walk to the highest tower, but the guard said it was closed inside. He told us we could walk on the outside walls to the top. I was a little freaked out because there were tons of small stairs, but with no rails at all, and you could fall down hundreds of feet. Very dangerous! But we climbed to the top and could see all the way across the Bosphurus to the other fort on the Asian side, which Mehmet also built, and to the bridge. It was very cool. The guy at the gate gave Lu a huge kiss, like so many people do here.

After the fort, we walked back to Bebek right next to the Bosphurus. We saw lots of men fishing. One nice guy gave me a live fish that he had just caught. It was small and the size of my hand. I carried it for a while, but it was still alive, so I decided to throw it back in the water. We also saw a bunch of photographers outside a building waiting because they said a Turkish journalist was about to be arrested. People had Turkish flags and television cameras.

We went back to a playground, which was right beside the water. Lu was very happy. It was strange, because instead of the English alphabet, it was the Turkish alphabet on the wall of the playground. There is no Q and no W, but there two C's, two G's, two I's, two O's, two S's, and two U's. The Turkish alphabet was written after Ataturk, the first president, asked them to change it from Arabic in the 1930s. It is a hard language to learn. Right now, I just know how to say hello, "Merhaba", and thanks, "Skogal". And cheers, which is "Serafe", I think.

This afternoon, we met our guide Levent at the hotel and he took us to see Dolmabahce Palace. Levent is nice - he has a son named Alp who is almost 2 years old. The palace was built for the Sultan after the Oriental Palace got too small. There was a guard in front who looked like a statue. He was holding a machine gun and had his other hand on a knife behind his back. The palace is completely symmetrical, it had two of everything, except pianos. Two bear rugs from Russia, two clocks from Germany, it was like a mirror was on one side. We saw his official greeting room, which had the biggest chandelier in the world. There were secret windows above this room where the Sultan's harem could look at what was going on, because they could not be seen. We saw the school rooms, which had lots of sofas and things. The Sultan had 18 concubines (like wives) and 20 kids who lived in this palace. Another strange thing was that all the clocks were set at 9:05 which is when Ataturk died in this palace.

We then drove to airport to meet dad and fly to Cappadochia. We are staying at hotel that is made into real caves, where people used to live. There are cave houses everywhere, like the Flintstones. It is very cool. The room for Lu and me is tiny and is in the real cave. I have never slept in a cave before. They built these caves beginning in the 4th century and some even before. Really old!
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