Monday, July 25, 2011

AROUND EASTBOURNE UK

My world for a week is like each year at the English South East coast in Eastbourne, where I stay with my dear friends Anne and Doug. It's a beautiful town and I love to go and walk along the promenade, or sit at the beach.

That's what I have done today.

The entrance to the Pier

The pier and the promenade

Just walking along the sea

concerts are given here each night.

The "Wish Tower". Apparently if you make a wish here it becomes true. I haven't tried it out yet.

Then I took a sightseeing bus and went up to Beachy Head with its white cliffs falling into the blue sea and the soft landscape of the Downs.

Restaurant at Beachy Head

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Monday, July 18, 2011

DOLMABAHCE PALACE - Istanbul

I have visited many palaces in my life, but what I have seen here seemed to me the most beautiful one. Even the "Chateau de Versailles" the very famous Palace near Paris , looks like a garden shed to me, compared to this one !

The Dolmabahce Palace is not that old, it was built between 1844 and 1853, and is a three-storied building 284 m / 932 ft long. The 285 rooms, the harem, the 46 lounges (and 6 hammams) are heavily furnished and decorated in rococo style. Marble and alabaster, bronze, gold, silver, Baccarat and Bohemian crystals, silk, porcelain have been used in abundance. 14 tons of gold and 40 tons of silver have been used for the decoration of the palace !

Unfortunately it was not allowed to take any pictures inside the palace, so I had to google to find some on Internet, just to show this unbelievable decoration ! It's almost impossible to describe.

The Palace was the administrative center with the last of Ottoman Sultans residing here. After the foundation of the Turkish Republic by Ataturk he transferred all government functions to Istanbul and also occupied a small room and his office in the Dolmabahce Palace. It became Ataturk's home where he welcomed his foreign guests and made a practical center for national, historical and language congress and for international conferences.

Dolmabahce palace has a great meaning for Turkish people because Ataturk lived in the palace and spent the most serious period of his illness here. He passed away 10 th of November 1938 at 9:05 AM, all the clocks in the palace were stopped at this time. Now only the clock in his room shows this hour. His rather modest flat was one of the appartments located in the ancient "Harem" part, which was very interesting to visit.

The guide told us that when there was still the Sultan, each of his wives had her own appartment with a room for her personal maid. Of course only when she was the mother of a son ! It was the Sultan's mother who selected one of the wives for a night with her son. We went through her appartment where the event took place. Very interesting story ! (Talk about mothers in law) But I suppose the Sultan too had a word to say. We saw some flats, the hammam and even the Sultan's bed, which somebody of our group named "the battle field".

Today the Palace is mostly museum but is still used for official receptions of other countries leaders or Kings or Queens. Even Obama has been here.

The palace in all it's beauty seen from the Bosphorus

My friend Dominique buys her ticket and has to go through security to have her bag checked

Then we had to go through a scanner. I found this very good, at least the risk to be blown up by some crazy guys is kept to a minimum.

The long street along a very well kept park to the Palace entrance.

Of course there was a guardian and the poor guy had to stay still like a statue while we the tourists took advantage to have a picture made with him. He didn't even move an eye ! Of course I did the same as all the others.

Apparently we were not the only once to visit the palace

Before we were allowed to step in we had to cover our shoes with these pink plastic bags. We all looked very elegant ! But at least the beautiful carpets and floors were not damaged.

Outside throught the window I tried to take some pictures. After these three I was told that even from outside I wasn't allowed to photograph the inside !

It's in my nature to do what I am not supposed to do so I managed to take this picture of the famous crystal staircase, by being very discrete, but not enough, because one guardian gave me a suspicious look, and I didn't dare to take other pictures I wanted to keep my camera !

The following photos I googled on Internet

Some other pictures of this shiny crystal staircase.

Just to give you an idea of the furniture and decoration !

The explanation were given by an English speaking Turkish guide. It was very interesting because the people of our group came from all countries over the world. I met two women from Switzerland who had some difficulties to understand everything so I helped a little.

There is not much to comment outside ! It's just so nice to walk around.

The Clock Tower is a very impressive architectural work.

One of the fountains

and Lion statues laying in the grass

From the park, the view over the Bosphorus is stunning !

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Monday, July 11, 2011

CRUISE ON THE BOSPHORUS

I did 3 times the cruise through the Bosphorus which is a strait that forms part of the boundary between Europe and Asia.

illustrated here.

I found it so interesting to take a tram and go from Europe to Asia in not even 20 min. The cruises on the Bosphorus are so nice that my friend and I after having done one cruise of nearly two hours with our travel agency, we decided to do two others of our own.

So we went by tram to the Asian part of Istanbul and took a sightseeing boat.

We met interesting people of all nationalities. I was sitting besides a couple he Belgian she Japonese. My friend Dominique had two Indians from Dehli as neighbors.

Then we went back to the European side and took another boat

This was very luxurious and had a huge airconditionned cabine with bar on the first floor. I sat there because it was quiet windy on the top of the boat.

These are the kind of boats. There was even one named after my cat Arthur ! On some boats you have explanations in English. The price for 1.45 h was only 5 € (7 $) on the European side and 12 € (17 $) on the Asian side. When I think that we payed 3 times more for the from our travel agency organized tour !

There are two suspension bridges on the Bosphorus connecting Europe to Asia (or vice versa). The first one is known as "Bosphorus Bridge" and was opened on 29th October 1973. It's 1074 meters (1175 yards) long between two pillars, has 6 lanes, 165 meters (540 feet) height of piers.

The second one is known as "Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge" (or FSM Bridge shortly) and was opened in 3rd July 1988 This one is 1090 meters (1192 yards) long, has 8 lanes, and is 65 meters high from the water surface. Both bridges are tolled which is paid during passage to Asian direction only. The first one accepts only vehicles with electronic pass system (called OGS) and the second one both OGS and cash. No bicycles nor pedestrian traffic is allowed on them.

Bosphorus is one of the most popular parts of Istanbul amongst its inhabitants, especially during summer for its climate. Its shores are lined with fine neighborhoods, Ottoman palaces, fortresses, old wooden villas, hotels, parks and gardens, restaurants, cafeterias, and so on.

I can't give a lot of explanations, I just show you what I saw.

The bridges and going underneath

Beautiful architectural master pieces all along the riverside

the old Roman city wall

wooden houses

huge ships

a light house

and the sight seeing boats.

It was a wonderful experience and I can only recommend it to everybody who wants to go to Istanbul.

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About Me

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I love painting, writing, travelling and photography. My favorit models are my four cats which I observe with fun and humor. I am German, married to an Italian and we live in Waterloo (15 km from Brussels) / Belgium since many years. Waterloo is a famous place to many tourists, because Napoleon lost his battle here against Wellington and other European countries.

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