2011 August 4

Trina Turk Talks Turkey

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Trina Turk and her husband Jonathan Skow recently took a holiday to Turkey...and sent us a report of their jam-packed adventure. 

 

"We chose Turkey as our vacation destination this year for its combination of culture, textile shopping and seaside relaxation. The fact that the city of Istanbul is split between Europe and Asia is intriguing enough, but vague memories from college art history classes, the lure of the Grand Bazaar, and photos of the Aegean coast sealed the deal. Flying into Istanbul, I was surprised by the 100 kilometer wide urban sprawl--Los Angeles looks small in comparison.  

 

We stayed at the Sumahan on the Asian side of the Bosphorus.  Each morning, a hotel boat would take us across to the European side, where most of the tourist sites are located. Seeing Istanbul from the water is a must.  The mixture of palaces, mosques and waterfront homes exhibit the breadth of architectural styles.  The general aesthetic is "more is more." The Golden Horn is essentially a Byzantine/Ottoman theme park--except it's real!!--with tourists from all over the world exploring the Blue Mosque, The Haghia Sophia, and the Topkapi Palace. The Haghia Sophia had changed hands countless times over the centuries from emperor to sultan, from Christianity to Islam.  The new Turkish republic wisely changed it into a museum in the 1930s, allowing everyone to visit. We had an amazing seafood lunch at Balikci Sabahattin, where the mussels with rice was one of the most memorable meze from our trip.

 

The Grand Bazaar and Spice Market were suprisingly mellow--we expected the more aggressive hawking of wares we experienced in Morocco.  The Bazaar, which opened for shopping in 1461, was a huge maze of stalls that was somewhat daunting, even for professional shoppers like us!  We wandered into an exterior courtyard and purchased a couple of boldly striped anatolian tent blankets purportedly "from the 1920s", but the blue plastic beads on the fringe indicated otherwise. I also bought 2 vintage uzbek robes at a nearby shop called Cocoon, one an orange and hot pink ikat stripe, the other an ombre stripe that was weirdly mexican--I'm wearing that one in the photo. We had an excellent kebab lunch at Hamdi Et Lokantasi, located right on Eminounu square.  The open-air terrace on the top floor has a sweeping view of the city.  Make a reservation if you go--it took some persistence to get seated on the 4th floor without one.

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