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Monday, August 5: Day 105 – Saying Goodbye to Galata

We went to see The Whirling Dervish or Semâ. This is a Muslim prayer and Turkish custom. It is based on the fundamental condition of our existence to revolve- from the protons and electrons of atoms to the planets revolving around the Sun and even the earth itself. The Semâ participate and share in the revolution.

They walk in slowly and solemnly and are wearing long black robes and a tall felt hat. They sit on their knees in front of us. They shed their black robes to uncover white robes. They peal off after greeting the leader to start spinning.

When they stop whirling, they gather in groups of two, three or four with arms crossed before starting again. I think that it keeps them from getting dizzy.

While whirling, the right hand is face up indicating heaven and the left hand is facing down indicating earth.

The head tilts toward the right hand. They spin for longer than you think is possible and slowly circle around the room without bumping into each other.

Once all whirling is completed, they put their black robes on again and walk out in single file with a bow to Mecca.

The line to ascend the Galata Tower is always so long but we thought that at opening early Monday morning would be less crowded. We guessed right and we had a beautiful view of Istanbul waking up.

We said our goodbyes to our first Istanbul hotel. They even sent a maintenance man up to fix my glasses. Here is the breakfast buffet room.

We suited up with all our luggage and walked by our restaurant, Salon Galata. We were surprised to see Ihsan and Gulcihan there. “Do you guys live here?”

The encouraged us to come in for some tea and visit. We talked about tea, families, hometowns, travel, and the restaurant.

Both Ishan and Gulcihan are from the northern part of Turkey which is very green and blue. Ishan is from Rize and asked if we were going to Trabzon, Turkey’s heaven. No, but after hearing about his love for the place, I think that we would like it. He said that tourists have started to find it. That probably isn’t a good thing.

We learned more about Turkish tea. Ishan said that Katharine Brannings’ book Yes, I Would Love Another Glass of Tea is the best book about Turkish tea. I think that it might even be a movie.

Here is a 10 minute video of her talking about this traditional drink of Turkey served in a glass shaped like a women. I also learned that you are to make lots of noise while stirring with your spoon.

We visited with our friends at Salon Galata so long that it was time for lunch.

Gulcihan, our waitress, told us that her name means rose of the world. She taught us how to pronounce her name and how to say thank you in a business setting.

Kolay Gelsin means “I wish for your work to be easy.”

We said Goodbye again and took a tram to another part of Istanbul where we will meet our guide for our tour through Turkey to visit the various places mentioned in the book of Acts and Revelation in the Bible.

Our new hotel is next to a highly rated barber/hairdresser. We decided that we need cuts and we have time. Rob is getting a haircut in the heart of Istanbul.

This was the cutest little dog although it looked a little sad. I remarked how short her hair was and wondered the breed. He told me but I couldn’t understand. They showed me a picture of a white fluffy Bishon. No wonder she looked sad. They said that they cut her hair super short for the summer because it is so hot. I guess that a barber shop would think like that!!!

Here is the final look: Rob wanted more taken off and I would have rather had a little more left on. Oh well! Twins it is. They even parted us on the same side!

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