The trip continued to whizz by, and our first few days in Istanbul were jam packed with visits to schools, mosques and markets. A visit to the palace where Ataturk lived and died was on the agenda, and was a marvel to tour. The detailed painted exteriors, marble and gilded interiors left no corner without design. I photographed as much of the impressive color and pattern as I could record.
When visiting a school that was working on community projects to employ and educate an impoverished neighborhood, I saw a sign in the library that read: "OKU! Cunku, bilginin sovu yok" which is translated as, "Read! Because knowledge has no limit." I love this phrase, and will be sharing it with my students. My travels always begin with some research and are certainly followed with the same. Of course, I checked out the art and craft sections of their library to see what they had to offer, as well as the shelves of a large modern book store. We are so lucky to have the wealth of literature available to us in the States, they were pretty skimpy in the areas of fiber arts and fiber shops.
The markets are ancient buildings and the architectural arched doorways were created to allow camels to enter when that was important. I shopped at the store in Bursa (known for its silks) and purchased an embroidered silk jacket from the shop that Queen Elizabeth patroned during her visit!
Outside of the mosque in Bursa, a young girl stopped me and wanted to try her English. She told me that I had beautiful green eyes and giggled nervously awaiting my response. I fumbled for a great response, but could only quickly come up with the simple, "Sogul," meaning Thank you.
The shop windows here advertised top conservative fashion as well as silk and other more contemporary wear.
We ended this busy day of travel by seeing some ancient gates to the city and a puppet show for shadow puppet theater. Beyond the short play (in Turkish) we were invited to view behind the scenes and see the puppets, props and operator with the back lighting. The puppets were made from handpainted camel hide. This was a little sad, since I had just had my picture taken on one of the beautiful beasts.
This is me on the camel, me looking nervous as the owner walked away and the camel started moving around, then started peeing, moving even more. It is a long way up on a camel's back! I used a ladder to get into the saddle. The owner returned and laughed at my discomfort. I must not have been in danger of him taking off with me on board.