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Hello September!

Relics will start observing our fall and winter hours today.

10:00 am - 5:00 pm, Monday - Saturday.
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A little Provencal dinner

A little Provencal dinner of tomato and watermelon gazpacho with goat cheese, brochette of lamb with eggplant puree and the finale was cheesecake with fresh figs, AWESOME!!!

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Todd and our friend Wim loading a giant antique cheese cauldron from Switzerland!

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A most enjoyable start to the day

The morning started with feeding the ducks outside our hotel room, then breakfast at the local patisserie, Ooh la la!!

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Made a stop for freshly picked figs at a road side stand.

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Our delicious and beautiful dinner...

For dinner we had a tasty starter of smoked salmon, French white cheese and avocado puree. Entree was roast rack of Lamb with griddled corn cakes, roasted red peppers and zucchini. Dessert was honeydew melon soup with a small single scoop of fresh vanilla ice cream, pretty tasty! One of the many reasons we love Provence.

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We made it to Provence

Our Chambre d'Hote is beautiful. Lovely setting with our own terrace.

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A special spot is reserved on our container for this rare beauty...

A 16th century Spanish walnut sacristy with linen fold detail finely carved into the enormous drawer fronts.  Nearly 12 feet wide with original hand forged iron hinges and drawer pulls, this piece originally occupied space in a Spanish cathedral.

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Blue moon over Istanbul

Overall impression of Istanbul-high energy, hip, hilly, historic, hot & humid. Only change would be to visit during a cooler season. We walked nearly 80 miles during our 6 day visit, much of it with two art historian guides from Context Travel. They provided more information than we could retain, but helped us get a handle on a culture completely new to us. We recommend visiting to contexttravel.com for a list of cities in which tours are available. Groups are six or less, with PhD level scholars and experts as guides.

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A memorable dinner at Ciragan Palace on our last night in Istanbul

This is the Ciragan Palace Hotel. it is a Kempinski property. A few of our clients suggested we have dinner there. Th palace was stunning, food was out of this world and service impeccable. We started with grape leaves stuffed with beef, lamb sour cherries and pine nuts. Todd had the Lamb Tandir with rice, fruit and nuts rolled up in filo dough. Tim had the traditional Lamb Stewart baked on a terra cotta vessel for 6 hours the the neck of the vessel gets blown off to reveal your meal. We also ordered persian cucumbers in yogurt, smashed with pistachios and fesh dill. What a way to end our trip to Istanbul!!!

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The amazing Hagia Sophia Museum

A Byzantine Church that was once the grandest Christian church of it's time. It was then turned into a mosque by the Sultan after the Turks conquered Byzantium. Built by Justinian in the 6th century.

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We found a quiet terrace above the crush of tourists to enjoy a view of the Blue Mosque with lunch.

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Turkish breakfast basket tray

Tried the Turkish breakfast basket tray this morning - light, satisfying and unusual for a boy who likes a nice big skillet breakfast with lots of hot sauce. It had three Turkish cheeses mellow to strong, yogurt with honey, honey, raspberry preserves, Turkish olives, cherry tomatoes & Persian cucumbers with fresh thyme, soft boiled egg with Turkish breads.

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My new Turkish leather Sultan slippers from the Grand Bazaar.

 I also couldn't pass up getting a pair of traditional Turkish Sabahs either!

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Visit to Topkapi Palace

Today we visited the Topkapi Palace, really wonderful to see the royal treasury, Harem, royal residence and the armory.

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The view of the full moon over the Bosphorus from our terrace. SWEET!

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Lunch and Flowers...

The flowers in the entry of The Four Seasons Sultananmhet and lunch there of Braised Lamb Shanks with apricots, fava beans, morel mushrooms, pearl onions & reduced au jus, YUM!!!!

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The entrance to the humongous Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.

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Our tour today...

Our tour today of three important mosques from the 15th and 16th centuries in Istanbul. Suleymanye, Sehzade Cami and Rustem Pasha. Amazing architecture of the Ottoman empire and it's Sultans built by Sinan the great architect of his time.

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The view of the Bosphorus from our own private balcony.

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