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Tag Archives: Istanbul

Unmet Expectations At The Topkapi Palace

I had really high expectations of the Topkapi Palace, but the heat and hoards of tourists did not make it as pleasant as I thought it would be.


Look at all that gold at the #TopkapiPalace! #Istanbul #Turkey #Travel

A photo posted by Monica Wong (@_monicawong) on

The Topkapi Palace is a museum filled with a collection of the Ottoman empire’s porcelains, weapons, armors, calligraphic manuscripts and it’s most prized treasure and jewelry. It should have taken my breath away, but it didn’t. The grandeur and the opulence was expected. The long lines were, as usual, an annoyance.

I bought my entrance tickets and proceeded through the Imperial Gate. It was covered in marble and written with gilded inscriptions. The Imperial Council, with it’s illuminating gilded exterior, instantly caught my eye. The porch and floor was made entirely of marble. The white and green wooden ceiling was decorated in gold.  The exterior walls and entrance was plastered in gold. No other building in the Topkapi Palace matched up to the lavishness of this one.

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Observing Ramadan In Uskudar

Experience a more residential feel in Istanbul with a quick ferry ride to Uskudar.


A beautiful mosque in Uskudar, the Asian side of #Istanbul. #Turkey #Travel

A photo posted by Monica Wong (@_monicawong) on

For 1.5 lira, I took a ferry ride to Uskudar. When I landed on the Anatolian shore of the Bosporus River, there was a massive line snaked around the dock. I followed it all the way to the beginning and discovered that everyone was lined up waiting to be served their first meal of the day during Ramadan.

Uskudar is a very residential district. Many of the people here are locals who commute to Eminonu for work. There is a large population of university students and retirees. I walked to a small square near the dock and people-watched as night fell. As soon as the mosques started chanting, everyone around me began rustling  their plastic bags.

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Whirling Dervishes At The Sirkeci Train Station

Catch the Whirling Dervishes at the Sirkeci Central Train Station every Tuesday and Saturday at 7:30PM.


The Whirling Dervishes at #Istanbul’s Sirkeci Train Station, home of the famous Orient Express. #Turkey #Travel

A photo posted by Monica Wong (@_monicawong) on

I walked the length of the Theodosian Walls after feasting at Asitane Restaurant to the Sirkeci Central Train Station for evening tickets to see the Whirling Dervishes. Unfortunately, the tickets weren’t available for purchase until an hour before the show. For the next two hours, I sat and waited at the benches as the sky poured sideways.

The Sirkeci Central Train Station was built in 1889 and Europe’s first transcontinental express train. It was the destination for the renowned Orient Express, which brought a luxury of wealth and travel to Istanbul. The Orient Express has been immortalized in films, books and other parts of popular culture.

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