Atlantis Alumni

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Yali Mansion And Farewell To Turkey

For our last morning in Istanbul we took an excursion on the Bosphorus, between Europe and Asia. The weather was perfect, and the small boat sped across the water to the Asian side of the city, which is widely spread out and now houses 18 million people. The red-painted wooden house we visited was built around 1851 by the chief physician to the Sultan. The descendents of the original owners of this Yali mansion, mother and handsome young son, showed us the house, which they still occupy during the summer. Old wooden ceilings, huge Slovakian glass chandeliers and the original furniture gave us an idea of former lives. In glass cabinets or frames we saw decorations awarded to the doctor, delicate china and glass from the 19th century, framed inscriptions from the Sultan’s court, and even two old-style court robes made of silk. Yet there was also a lived- in feeling to certain rooms, like the kitchen. The Turkish bathing room had a unique glass skylight ceiling, and the house is one of few left in almost its original condition. After the tour, in the garden, we were served lemonade or tea with cookies and ‘Turkish delight.’ Then our boat traveled back to the port, and we resumed the tour in the mini-van. Our last stop was one of the underground cisterns, built in ancient Roman times. Below a modern store we enjoyed wine or tea served with small cakes. Surprisingly, given the heavy traffic in the city, we arrived back at the Equinox before our sailing scheduled for 2 PM. In the afternoon we travelled along the coast, headed to the Dardanelles and the Aegean Sea. -Dan

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