Friday, October 5, 2012

A FORTUNATE LIFE - PART1


While I was leisurely enjoying the Bosphorus boat tour in TURKEY, I remembered this quote that I had once read by Mae West.
“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough,"      Well, I couldn't agree more!  

Considering I enjoy living life on my terms, making time to do things I love and trying to make the most of this "FORTUNATE LIFE"  that I am blessed with, Turkey was an amazing, one of a  kind experience that I got to share with my good friend Vandana  Rao.  
Savor a slice of this exotic, colorful land of the Ottoman Sultans, where East meets West and traditional values clash with the modern, all through our lens, in my words!! 
  



THELMA & LOUISE:
Neither am I a passive housewife like Thelma  nor has Vandana had a traumatic past like Louise and there aren't any similarities between us and the 1991 Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis classic. The only thing that's common here is 2 good friends, packing their bags and going away on a dream vacation to savor life to the fullest!! 
Vandana and I, two like- minded friends, who absolutely love food, travel, photography and Bollywood, plan a vacation to exotic TURKEY and return with loads of good memories, great stories and two thousand plus pictures worth sharing. From Harems to Hammams, Mosques to Mosaics, Bazaars to Bosphorus, Baklavas to Belly dancing, we experienced it all.
While I feasted on juicy kebabs, she gorged on veggie dolmas.  When I was enjoying my RAKI ( an aniseed flavored Turkish drink akin to Greek OUZO),  she kept me company by sipping her hot Turkish CHAI.  I shook a leg to Billie Jean and   she decided to do a "MashaAllah" and  while I shopped for rugs, she rummaged through silver Jewelry !!
Oprah Winfrey  once said - " Surround yourself with only those people who are going to lift you higher"  and today through this post, I would like to thank my dear Vandu for being a great friend, a strong support and a positive influence in my life, without whom things wouldn't have been the same.




THE GOLDEN GIRLS:
Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter.
These words made more sense to me when I met the 'golden girls" Alma & Rose, 2 sisters from NJ, aged 90 and 96, on my trip. Crisply dressed and with their lipstick always in place, they charmed everyone with their humor and amazing zest for life. Being avid travelers, they walked among the historic ruins without complaining and cracked jokes without pausing.They sipped wine in style and watched belly dancing in awe. Their company was extremely inspirational for most of us and they were the highlight of our trip.
My thirties were fairly interesting and serene, my forties are passionate and I want my coming years to be like theirs, inspiring & charming with good health and spirits!!






MOSQUES & MOSAICS: 
Out of the many mosques and minarets that I got to see in Turkey, Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya) takes the cake. It was originally a church but  after the fall of Constantinople, the beautiful gold mosaics from the Byzantine period were plastered and minarets were carefully added to the existing church by the Ottoman Turks, turning it into a mosque.  Only later in 1931, the mosaics were uncovered and the building was transformed into a museum.









The interiors are beautifully decorated with hundreds of hanging chandeliers and rich golden mosaics.








The mosaics depict  Jesus, Virgin Mary, saints, emperors and the empresses. The golden background is the original, remaining from the 9th century.






















 The mesmerizing hues of yellow, blue and gold on the ceiling make this mosque one of my absolute favorites!!















THE MISTRESS OF SPICES:
Istanbul boasts of the best bazaars in Turkey and if I were to pick my favorites from all the bazaars that I visited, then it would be the "Spice Bazaar" in Istanbul and the "Koza Han" silk market in Bursa.
Spice bazaar, an L shaped building built in the 1940's attracts thousands of visitors every day , from all around  the world. I love spices and the prospect of visiting a huge, ancient market that is primarily dedicated to spices got me all heated  up.  







A colorful assortment of mixed fruits and nuts, real eye candy!









Had a blast shopping and clicking away hundreds of pictures  in the Grand bazaar, one of the oldest and the largest covered market in Istanbul with 61 covered streets and over 3000 shops.









 A shop at the entrance of   Grand Bazaar with an interesting array of 'Evil Eye" glass hangings !!


Trivets and coasters in ceramics, where the motifs are inspired from original Iznik designs of the 16th century.
Don't miss the yellow "Sufi Dervish" motifs on the extreme right... Simply gorgeous!



Welcome to the mesmerizing world of "Turkish Lanterns".  
If I had a choice, I would have brought the entire store back home - I simply fell in love with them.






The courtyard cafe in the "Koza Han", a covered silk market in BURSA.
Absolutely loved the ambience and the energy. Wish we had something like this in the U.S.





                A wall full of character......KOZA HAN, Bursa.













36 comments:

  1. Turkey is a wish....to be fulfilled real soon Jay! But I experienced and lived it through your eyes in a manner that I would have liked to have seen, felt, touched and experienced...Splendidly. Your sun soaked pics are to die for...preserve them! Love and hugs for brightness and sunshine that you exude! The May West quote is one of my fav and recently had it as a post...where you commented Perfect! I love it....LIVE IT WELL...Its just Once! Hugs! Anna

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anna, I was thinking of you when I quoted Mae West. How much I had liked it !!
      Thanks for so being inspirational, love seeing you every morning!!

      Delete
  2. What a splendid travelogue! It was like taking that trip with the two of you! Absolutely loved the Sufi-dancing-coasters and all the hanging lamps! I hope I get to travel there soon and when I do, I'm going to be using your article as my guide! Good job, once more!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Poorna, Thanks for your input. You should visit Turkey soon, try to combine it with Greece!

      Delete
  3. Hey Jay,
    This post is so wonderful that I want to go to Turkey right now. You have captured the images so well & explained it even better. Loved the architecture & motifs/colors throughout. I loved your 1st picture & your red dress in Grand Bazaar.
    Beautiful destination & wonderful friend-what else do you need in life! Yes-I quite agree - " You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough." :) Something very important to learn-These days everyone is so busy & always lacking time to pursue what they really like/love to do but if you want then you can definitely create time for it.
    Thank you for this post & looking forward to many more...:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Reshma, Happy that you liked the post.
      The red dress is Ritu kumar "LABEL" and the rest are "ANTHROPOLOGIE". The blue hand bag is "Stella MCcartney"

      Delete
  4. This travel blog will be useful for me and my family when we travel there in June 2013.
    Thanks for the advance views and pictures of this exotic Turkey. Some sites and pictures looked similar to Morocco. Wishing you lots more travel adventures Jay

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Vidya, thanks for you input, glad you liked it.
      I would recommend that you combine Greece ( Athens with Santorini & Mykonos) with Istanbul... that will make a great trip!

      Delete
  5. Super post and super pictures! Loved it!

    ReplyDelete
  6. supeb.........no need to turkey got full picture of turkey in details.....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Farroq Bhai... glad you liked the post!

      Delete
  7. I love your attitude Jay..Glad you had a great time....As always ,your blogs are always interesting...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Rama.... The "RIGHT" attitude and approach is everything in life... isn't it?

      Delete
  8. Enjoyed everything about this part Jayashree. Especially those exotic lanterns....Can't wait to see what is in Part 2..Bring it on soon pls.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you.
      Glad you liked the post.....keep reading and feel free to leave behind a comment:)

      Delete
  9. you should of narrated my tour in Turkey. you did a fabulous job Jayashree

    sarita

    ReplyDelete
  10. Had a long time in mind to go to Turkey. Now after seeing this post can't wait anymore to see this place. Will plan very soon. Thanks Jay for this wonderful post. Waiting eagerly for the second part.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Vijaya, Sure, you should go to visit Istanbul, what a vibrant city!!... also try to combine Athens, Mykonos & Santorini with Istanbul!!

      Delete
    2. We had been to Istanbul and Capadocia. We enjoyed the Hot air Balloon ride, which was the experience of life time. Thoroughly enjoyed this trip. we could not see Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar as they were closed for Bakrid. Greece, is already explored by us last christmas. Any other intresting places......

      Delete
  11. Lovely pictures! Jayshree, I loved the"Turkish Lanterns" picture a lot, for few minutes I felt I was in Turkey. Great Job!
    Awaiting for the second one.....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Shaila, I know, I loved the "Lanterns" too.. I have bought a beautiful one home.

      Delete
  12. Great Jay, it always a pleasure to read your post.... loved every bit of your description and pictures.....can't wait for more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Latha,
      How are you?....Glad you liked the "TURKEY" post, keep reading and feel free to leave behind a comment:)

      Delete
  13. I realy enjoyed your post, beautiful pictures..be safe and have fun.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Shubhi, Glad you liked the post.....keep reading and feel free to leave behind a comment:)

      Delete
  14. Can't wait to age like the golden girls.....ur blog inspires me always!!!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Rekha,sure you will. Let the almighty bless you with good health, happiness and cheer...always!!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi!! Stumbled upon your lovely blog today, and guess what I m going to Turkey in a couple of weeks! And Bursa is on my list. Could you please help me on what is the best way to get to Bursa from Istanbul - I see there are bus and ferry options, but all of them seem to take ages! Did you do a day trip as well? Any help would be much appreciated - thanks!

    ReplyDelete