I gave myself permission to
I did lots of window shopping:
I saw the outer and inner courtyards of the Blue Mosque but didn’t go in because it was prayer time.
I also visited
a cemetery from the 1800s that had some of the most beautiful stone-carving I've ever seen. It began as the tomb of Sultan Mehmed II and was used as a burial place for many of the nobility as well.
I ended up in the courtyard of the Topkapi around one in the afternoon. I didn’t go in because I know it’s a multi-day thing and I wanted to start fresh.
And I saw something that made me
A friend of mine that I used to work with had an assistance animal named Max. Max was amazing and he was an instant source of peace in a stressful day. When I was recovering from my accident he often had a hard time deciding who he wanted
to take care of, his mistress or me and he tried very hard to take care of us both.
He died not long ago and our entire group has been kind of amazed at how much we miss him.
I can't imagine what my friend is going through, the grief has to be similar to losing a human family member.
So as I walked through the gates of the Topkapi Palace, I saw a dog that looked just like Max.
He was flopped in the shade, napping on a hill overlooking the Bosporus. I hope that if dogs go to a heaven, it looks something like this.
To the right, just outside the frame, is a guard shack and a sweet-faced young soldier with a machine gun. He seemed kind of confused about why I was taking pictures of his dog and weeping.
My Turkish isn't good enough to get even close to an explanation.
And he has a machine gun.
[Turkey has required military service for all men, and many end up functioning as security guards especially around important historical sites. They all look about 12 years old to me, with very serious demeanors but they are polite and as helpful as they
can be without leaving their post.]
Also, the tulips are in bloom.
And I found the Grand Bazaar.
You'll note that I took a picture of
the inside of the gate. The gates are numbered.
Carla told me 'when you get lost in the Grand Bazaar...'
'No. WHEN you get lost in the Grand Bazaar, just keep going uphill and you will come out near the tram station.'
[This city is so old and so hilly that getting lost is inevitable and so I made it a practice to photograph street signs and major landmarks throughout the day so I could get myself found, or be able to retrace my steps to find something again.]