Yesterday afternoon, Phil and I successfully evaded our ememy, the Princess Cruise group. We took sanctuary in the Blue Mosque, then hid out in a tea shop for a few hours playing backgammon. This morning at the Topkapi Palace, we marveled the number of stray cats and admired the patterned tiles and elaborate bathing set-up in the Sultan's Harem. Inside the treasury, we saw the Spoonmaker Diamond, an 86 carat rock found in a dumpster (hey, maybe my dad's got the right idea!) in the mid-19th century and purchased by a peddler for three spoons.
After the palace, we broke out of the Sultanahmet neigborhood and explored the Ortokoy and Beyoglu areas favored by the locals. Thanks to a brief hop into Topshop, my suitcase now boasts three pairs of socks, which takes a lot of pressure off the single pair I packed, in my infinite wisdom. We sampled some delish Turkish Delight at Ali Muhiddin Haci Bekir, listed in Time Out Istanbul as one of the best. Phil and I happily agree.