23 November 2010

Topkapi Palace

My vacation continued in a country I've been trying to visit for a couple years now...Turkey. I had nine whole days to explore Istanbul. I'm not a big fan of traveling alone and luckily I had company for the first couple days from the friend I visited in England. One of our first stops was the Topkapi Palace...of which I managed to not not get a front picture.

One of the rooms (in which photography was forbidden) held some Islamic relics (copies of the Koran etc) and there was someone singing the Koran over a loudspeaker. We thought it was a recording at first until we passed his booth. It being "live" actually made it cooler.

Window grille detail

I believe this was the library.


Or this was the library...


Mother of pearl detail on a door.


Creepy fake people.


I'm so moving in. I can totally see me living here...with a little more furniture and cable of course. But right? I would fit right in. Although the creepy fake people would have to go. Word of warning to anyone visiting Istanbul though...museums are expensive!! I mean I know I'm spoiled with the free Smithsonian museums and all...but the entrance fee to Topkapi was I think 10 lira ($7) but then you had to pay another 15 lira ($10) to get into the harem...which was one of the cooler sections of the whole palace.

16 November 2010

My Own Personal Disneyworld

While in London I paid a visit to the one museum of which I could never tire; the happiest place on earth...the Sherlock Holmes Museum. I love Sherlock Holmes. I have three copies of the complete collections (paperback, electronic for my Kindle, and the complete annotated versions), have several of the old movies, was horrified by the recent Robert Downey Jr. movie, and can't wait to see the new BBC miniseries.

 Dr. Watson, me, and Sherlock :)

 The Hound of Baskerville

 The Musgrave Ritual

 From The Speckled Band

 The Art of Violin Playing

 Sherlock's violin

In addition to the museum, a couple of my friends and I had dinner at the Sherlock Holmes Pub. I was pretty much jumping up and down out of excitement when I saw the place.

All the dishes (very traditional English) were named either after Sherlock's cases, or were a favorite dish of one of the people. I had Mrs. H.udson's steak and ale pie. Dude, so yummy

London Baby!

For the first time in almost exaclty two years I took a vacation that had nothing to do with short trips to visit my family. The first part of my trip was to London to visit one of my very favorite friends whom I haven't seen in far too long. And as lucky coincidence would have it...my visit coincided with Hallowhedon. We went ready to be as geeky as everyone else while we celebrated the genius that created Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, Dollhouse, and Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog. We ended up being far far out-geeked but I was pretty ok with that. I got to meet Giles so I was pretty darn happy. For two days we hung out with other fans, got autographs from and listened to talks from all the Hallowhedon guests, and watched an episode of Buffy with live guest commentary.

I also fell a little bit more in love with Alan Tudyk who has played some of my favorite Whedon characters.

For my first convention it was a pretty easy introduction. I had a lot of fun and would happily go again. The rest of my was filled with activities that were a little more typical London touristy. I couldn't not visit Portobello Road, especially after Bedknobs and Broomsticks aired on TV the night before I left.

In between wandering in and out of shops on the road I came across the tiniest vehicle I've ever seen. I was not the only one to be intrigued.

One of my first stops in London was the British Museum. I get museumed out pretty quickly but knew that I had to see the mummies.

 I love the detail on his sandals.

I also made a point to snap a picture of the Rosetta stone. Mostly because it would make my brother jealous.

My sightseeing adventures involved a lot of walking. I was given my friend's special guided tour of London and we also went on a Jack the Ripper walking tour one evening. Between these tours I saw a great deal of the city. I even remember what some of it was.

 Westminster Abbey and St. Margaret's

 Westminster Abbey

 London Bridge

 London Bridge

 Not London Bridge; this was a pedestrian bridge somewhere...

 View from unremembered pedestrian bridge. The dome is Saint Paul's.

 The Eye


 Did you know that the clock tower is not Big Ben? Big Ben is the bell inside the clock tower. I was unaware of this.