Thursday, February 7, 2008

Istanbul (for the 6th time)

Yes, we like Old Constantinople.
Yes, we like double-knotted carpets.
Yes, we like to barter.
Yes, we like roaming the streets and bazaars.
Yes, Gordon likes to trade stuff for antiques.
Yes, we did buy and trade more stuff for other stuff.
The proud Turkish flag inside the Spice Market.
Walking the local market streets with a kebab and water in hand.
Kebab anybody? On every street you can find the continuously cooking meat stacks from about 10 in the morning until late in the evening. It is the Turkish staple. They thinly slice the lamb, beef, or chicken and then layer it with potatoes, tomatoes, lettuce, and some yogurt sauce and wrap it with a thin flour pita bread or bread roll.
Ahhh, Baklava!
Shipwrecked somewhere along the Bosphorus these African green parrots found a home in freezing Sultanahmet, old downtown Istanbul. Supposedly they have been surviving for many years here.
Marco Polo would be proud, the Spice Market is still alive and thriving where East meets West.

What's the score?The bustling walking district of upper Taksim, trendier Istanbul.
This is a personal collection of an antique dealer, 300 to 400 year old pieces, for sale if anyone can afford them. Let Gordon know!
Roman Aqueduct: most structures are adjoining to the sides of this old thing, with the streets intertwining through and along. The kids play soccer in its shadows and have a BB gun shooting course with balloons and glass bottles as targets.
All over the Sultanahmet district there are old Ottoman houses falling into decay because of an ordinance that states they cannot be demolished.
We didn't take this Bahtiari (an unopened camel bag) from the Kurds of Eastern Turkey/ Iran. But our friend Mustafa always, with tact, tries to add more rugs to our modest collection.
However, we did take this Beluche tribal camel bag from Enver at the Beyazit Bazaar. This one was part of a bigger negotiation some of which follows below. His friend, Ali (on the right), traded a giant Afghan rug to Gordon on a previous visit.
This one? Or the other one? Cotton or Wool base? Turkoman or Iranian? The decision was too difficult and several hours were needed to decide which one was worth his computer. The one he is standing on, wool on wool, was the victor; a rare all natural Turkoman Palace Kilim!
Beyazit Bazaar where these rug dealers love electronics and repairing antiques.

Koprivshtitsa, Bulgaria

We spent a leisurely Saturday afternoon with some friends in a nice village called Koprivshtitsa. It is located about 2 hours southeast of Sofia. We borrowed a friend's car for the adventure. The town is that which hosted the uprising against the Ottoman Rule in the late 1800's and there are many museums dedicated to the event.the Mr. Bean face for our friend Dave in front of the sign entering the city of Chelopech.
fuzzy horses, mules, and donkeys out on the snowy open range
the entrance to one of the many museums
the ladies buying snacks at a store
a local bulgarian napping under a tree, ignoring the photo crazy tourists
the snowy rooftops of the village
the best couple ever!
hay is for horses?
Lara and I trudging through the streets