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Night Photowalk On South Broadway

Last night, I headed out for the monthly Denver Photo Night Walk Community. We met at the Mayan Theater on South Broadway.

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Night Shoot, At The Mayan

At one fast food restaurant, a hand cart was parked out on the sidewalk, so I looked some action here. After a short while, I found this guy deep in thought…

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Contemplation

There is a giant red shoe on the sidewalk, outside a shoe store.

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Lady Behind The Red Shoe

This store is in the process of being fitted out, or being vacated. There was a stack of plates on the floor.

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Stack Of Plates In The White Room

Smile once more — you’re on camera… again.

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Smile, You’re On Camera

One restaurant had these lilac veils hanging outside. I made this image that includes the kitchen staff working behind the veil.

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Behind The Veil

A light breeze started blowing. This image almost looks like petals of a flower.

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Lilac Veil, Flowing In The Breeze

We had a great evening meeting up again and making images.

 

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Murals And Reflections

This last weekend, I headed downtown to the Art’s District. After meandering through the streets and alleys, I decided to make some image of some of the murals that exist in the area. Some of these murals are really striking, as can be seen in this one.

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Mural No 1, Art’s District

Along one of the alleys if a mural of a lady with the stars and night sky as her head. Rather than making an image of the mural, I included the gate as the main subject.

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Mural And Gate

In one of the alleys, I found a portrait of a lady. This is one mural that I have not seen before. I chose to tightly crop into this image.

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Mural Portrait

The alley adjacent to the Renegade Beer Company has this mural next to the dumpsters.

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Renegade Beer Mural

There was a lot of melting snow in the alley. The puddles of water allowed me to capture reflections of the colorful mural.

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Alley Mural Reflection No 1

The reflections allowed me to make some more abstract images.

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Abstract Mural Reflection

These are some of the first images that I made for 2017. A belated Happy New Year to you all.

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Chicago — An Unexpected Bonus

We left Istanbul on a Tuesday, early afternoon, and arrived back in Chicago O’Hare on Wednesday (Istanbul time). Of course, it was still Tuesday in Chicago. Checking in to our flight back to Denver, we discovered that I had booked for a Wednesday. We were one day early for our Denver flight! All hotels were booked for a 50 mile radius from Chicago due to a big conference, except for some very expensive rooms. We eventually found an AirBnb near the Midway airport, so we got a cab ride there.

Wednesday morning, we decided to make use of our stay in Chicago by making a trip downtown. We had an early morning breakfast and headed for the “L“. Arriving downtown, we walked to Millennium Park, where “The Bean” or “Cloud Gate” is located. This is a really interesting stainless steel mirror sculpture.

The Bean, Chicago

The Bean, Chicago

I entered inside, or rather, under The Bean, to make this image. The mirrored surface creates some really interesting multiple reflections that I experimented with. I found this image to be the most interesting.

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Inside The Bean

The geometry of The Bean creates some interesting effects. It is very difficult to find reflections of myself in these images. One would have to stand in very specific positions to capture an easy to find self-reflection. We continued through the park, heading towards Lakeshore Drive. I found these tent roofs hiding between the trees.

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Tent Roofs, Millennium Park

There are some really interesting structures in the park. This pedestrian bridge crosses one of the busy streets to access park gardens on the other side. This bridge offers some interesting effects with reflections from stainless steel sheeting.

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Pedestrian Bridge, Millennium Park

We crossed the Chicago River, where there are some really interesting buildings. That tall blue building on the left side is the Trump Tower.

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Buildings Along The Chicago River

We found some river cruises that offer architectural tours of buildings along the Chicago River. This seemed like something educational, since we had already passed several interesting buildings. We joined a cruise that was departing in about 20 minutes. While waiting, I made this image of the curved surfaces of the Lake Point Tower. There were window cleaners busy near the bottom right of the image.

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Lake Point Tower, Chicago

Our cruise tour guide provided an excellent commentary and presentation about the architectural history of several landmark buildings along the river front. The “Aqua” building in this image has come fascinating sky reflections in the windows.

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Chicago Buildings, With Aqua At Back

One of the other well-known buildings is “Marina City“, or the “Corn Cob Building“. The lower floors of the building serve as a parking garage.

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Marina City, Corn Cob Building

Another building is this one, with a facade that looks like dots and dashes of Morse Code, of open filing cabinet doors?

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Morse Code Building?

Finally, I included this image of the Trump Tower in Chicago.

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Trump Tower, Chicago

After returning from the river cruise, we had lunch and headed back to our AirBnb to collect our bags. We boarded the “L” to downtown, and switched to another line that delivered us to O’Hare for our return flight to Denver.

Our trip back home from Turkey, had an “Unexpected Bonus” with a visit to downtown Chicago. I would recommend that all visitors to Chicago make an effort to enjoy this very interesting architectural tour. This was a memorable conclusion of our fabulous trip to Turkey for our 40th Anniversary.

And the conclusion of my travelog that I eventually completed before the end of 2016. Best wishes for a Happy New Year!

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Istanbul — Last Full Day

For the last full day in Istanbul, Susan had planned for a ferry ride to the Prince’s Islands. But first, I was up early in the morning, so I headed out of the rental house before breakfast. We had seen a red-brick building located close by the house, but could not figure out more info. So I navigated through the streets to locate the building. This was the Greek School, that is no longer in use. Perhaps it was a relic of the Population Exchange that occurred many years earlier?

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Greek School, Balat

The school building had a very distinctive style, with crenelated decorations along the roof. The walls of the building were decorated with light and dark colored brickwork.

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Greek School No 2, Balat

Walking through the neighborhood, I found a small minaret close by.

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Minaret Near Greek School, Balat

Lower down our street, I found a clothes line, loaded with clothes, stretched across the street from this house.

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Clothes Hanging Out To Dry, Balat

Of course, the neighborhood had its fair share of cats. This guy was draped over a terracotta tiled roof a couple of blocks from the rental.

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Cat On The Roof, Balat

It was eventually time from us to make our way to the Prince’s Islands. These islands are located in the Sea of Marmara, off the coast from the Asian side of Istanbul. We took a ride to the ferry terminal, where there were crowds of people that were waiting to make the same journey. Here are some images made during our ferry ride.

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Match, On Ferry

Susan…

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Susan, On Ferry

Warwick…

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Warwick, On Ferry

When we arrived at Prince’s Island, we hired bicycles for the day. The islands are unique in that there are no motorized vehicles on the roads. Only horse drawn carriages and bicycles are permitted. Here is Angela astride her bike.

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Angela On Bike Ride, Prince’s Island

We stopped for lunch that was at a restaurant on the top of the hill. We had to dismount bikes and walk the half mile up the hill to the restaurant. This is a view from the island, looking back towards the Asian side of Istanbul, with one of the other islands in the foreground (or should that be fore sea?).

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View From Prince’s Islands To Istanbul

During our bike ride, I made a couple of images of some of the houses located on the island.

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House On Prince’s Island

In this image, I captured another house that had accumulated layers of peeling paint.

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Entrance To House With Peeling Paint, Prince’s Island

That is one of the final images that I made of our trip to Turkey. On the following day, we would be heading back home after a fabulous vacation.

 

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Istanbul — A Day In Balat

For the next day in Istanbul, we decided to stay in the Balat area, where the rental house was located. Before breakfast, I headed out into the street for some exploration. Our rental house was located near the top of a steep street, where I made this image.

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Apartment In Balat, Istanbul

Balat is an old area of Istanbul. There is a mixture of dilapidated houses, that are gradually deteriorating, and houses that have been remodeled and renovated. The really old houses have some interesting textures, as can be seen in this image, where plaster had fallen off the wall to reveal underlying brickwork.

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Wall Texture And Window, Balat

Making my way down the steep street, I encountered the colorful flower boxes along one storefront.

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Flower Boxes, Balat

Like many cities around the world, this area is becoming increasingly more gentrified. These three houses, in Kiremit Street, are typical of the remodeled houses in Balat.

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Kiremit Street Houses, Balat

Another street was lined with black bollards to keep cars off the sidewalk.

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Balat Street In The Morning

I eventually returned to the top of street, above the rental house, where I encountered several other early risers who had hit the streets.

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Street Scene, Balat

After breakfast, we decided to do some shopping in the nearby stores. While making our way there, we stopped at the Fatih Mosque. This is, perhaps, one of the most beautiful mosques in Istanbul. The main worship area has lighting located about 10 feet above the floor. In this image, I captured the fabulous domed ceilings that had chains that suspended the lights.

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Suspension Chains From Ceiling, Fatih Mosque

This mosque also had a huge red carpeted floor. The carpet included intricately detailed designs that can be seen in the following image.

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Carpeted Floor, Fatih Mosque

Passing by the main entrance, I made the following image of the mosque’s courtyard, where ablution facilities are located.

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Looking Out Of Fatih Mosque

Like many of the Turkish mosques, the heavy doors were decorated with geometric designs.

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Main Entrance Door, Fatih Mosque

After exiting the mosque through the main entrance, I stopped by the ablution fountain to make this image.

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Ablution Fountain, Fatih Mosque

The mosque had many domes that were included in the design of the roofs around the courtyard. At the peak of the dome, is an ornament, usually golden in color. I am sure that these dome ornaments have a name, but I have not yet found reference to this in various internet searches. I made this image that included the roof line with ornament against the blue sky.

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Dome Roof Ornament, Fatih Mosque

Leaving the mosque, we made our way to the stores. Some of the stores are really specialized. In this image, the vendor only sells dates. These have been harvested from various areas and countries around the middle east.

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Date Street Vendor, Istanbul

The Turks are really enterprising people. In this image, one can get knives sharpened in the street. This vendor had setup his grindstones on a cart in the street. That guy in the orange shirt was amused by my interest in making photographs of the knife grinder!

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Sharpening Knives, Istanbul

During the afternoon, we made our way down the streets of Balat. We found these two chidren enjoying a ride in the steep streets. They were fortunate that there were few cars in the area to spoil there enjoyment!

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Children Enjoying Downhill Ride, Balat

We also passed this one really steep street, lined with really coloful houses.

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Colorful Houses On Steep Street, Balat

At the bottom of the street, Susan and Warwick found a cat sleeping on the porch roof above a doorway.

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Susan And Warwick, And Cat, Balat

This cat was the source of interest!

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The Cat, Balat

Susan and Angela visited the Turkish baths, while Warwick and I walked through the streets. One interesting building house the “Hobbit House” that serves breakfast.

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Balat Hobbit House

Here is another street scene that we found in Balat, where these two guys were chatting out in a street full of colorful houses.

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Balat Street Scene

Further along the same street, we arrived at back of the Hobbit House, when I found several bikes parked on the sidewalk.

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Bikes Behind Hobbit House, Balat

After meeting up with Angela and Susan, we all went for dinner at one of the local restaurants that had been recommended by our landlord.

 

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Istanbul Continued

Our tour had finished in Istanbul and we had a few days to spend. Susan and her boyfriend, Warwick, had arrived from London during the night and would only wake later in the morning. I headed out of the hotel early before breakfast. Out in the street, recyclers were busy reclaiming recycled trash. This is an important source of income to these folks, who are mainly refugees from other countries outside Turkey.

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Trash Recyclers, Istanbul

Nearby streets are empty, after late night revelers had filled the streets.

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Empty Street, Istanbul

I headed down to the Eminonü waterfront. Several fishermen were draped over the railing, attempting an early morning catch.

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Early Morning Fishermen, Eminonu Waterfront, Istanbul

I watched as this guy caught a fish. He was very pleased with the catch that he made a photograph with his smartphone. Perhaps it was his first catch?

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Photographing My Catch, Istanbul

It was time to return to the hotel for breakfast. After a couple of hours, Susan had surfaced; she had arrived at 2am in the morning after a delayed flight. All four of us loaded into a taxi and headed to a rental house in the Balat area of Istanbul.

After unpacking and meeting the landlord, Peter, we headed to the Basilica Cistern. All of us had read Dan Brown’s book “Inferno”, also made into a movie. The final location for the book was set in this cistern. This cistern was built during Roman times under the city, and is one of many cisterns below the city.

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Basilica Cistern, Istanbul

One of the pillars supporting the roof of the cistern is built on a Medusa head. The base of this pillar has two heads, one on its side (pictured below), and one upside down. These Medusa heads supposedly ward off evil.

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Basilica Cistern Medusa Head, Istanbul

Later, we headed across to the cafe near the Blue Mosque (avoiding the carpet salesmen), where Warwick wanted to smoke a Hookah (or Shisha). Angela also decided to try it out.

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Angela With Hookah, Istanbul

Here is Warwick.

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Warwick With Hookah, Istanbul

And Susan too!

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Susan With Hookah, Istanbul

Our landlord had recommended that we head up to the rooftop of the Pera Palace Hotel for sunset. Here there is a great view of the city of Istanbul that we enjoyed with a sun-downer. In this image, we look down on the Galata tower, foreground left. The Blue Mosque, with its six minarets, can be seen in the background on the left. In the distance is the sea of Marmara.

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Sunset View From Pera Palace Hotel, Beyoglu, No 1

Panning to the right is a view looking down to the Haliç Metro bridge. The Metro railway crosses the Haliç (Golden Horn) over this bridge. There is also a station located in the middle of this bridge.

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Sunset View From Pera Palace Hotel, Beyoglu, No 2

As the sun set over the horizon, I made this image of the skyline with pink/purple skies.

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Sun Setting Over Istanbul

In the opposite direction, the lights of Bosphorus bridge had switched on. The Bosphorus separates the European side of the city from the Asian side of the city.

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Bosphorus Bridge After Sunset, Istanbul

It was time for us to find dinner. I made this image of the bar lights with the skyline at blue hour.

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Bar Lights, Istanbul

Enjoy.

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Friday was the last full day of our tour of Turkey, which was the return trip to Istanbul from Safranbolu. We stopped at one of the rest areas for a bio-break and for snacks. The rest areas have a store that sell snacks and beverages. However, many of the rest areas around Turkey, also have stores that sell other merchandise. This rest had stores that sell clay pots and furniture, so of which are shown in this image.

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Rest Area Store, No 1

Also on sale were various fruits and nuts. In the following image, I captured a display of hazelnuts, walnuts and almonds. During our tour, we visited many rest areas that had similar nuts on sale.

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Rest Area Store, No 2

This rest area also had an extensive selection of Turkish delight candies and Baklava on sale, that are captured in the image below.

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Rest Area Store, No 3

We arrived in Istanbul, crossing the Bosphorus Bridge, and arriving at the Golden Horn hotel. This was the same hotel from which we had departed two weeks earlier. Soon after checking in to the hotel, Angela, Julie and I headed for the Spice Bazaar that was close by, in Eminonu. We stopped by one of the spice vendors that was recommended to us. This vendor also had a selection of various teas for sale.

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Spice Bazaar Teas, Istanbul

I was fascinated by the balls of Jasmine Tea that I captured below.

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Big Jasmen Tea, Spice Bazaar

Here are the spices that were on display.

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Spices, Spice Bazaar, Istanbul

Walking through the bazaar, we passed by a booth where the vendor was selling a colorful variety of soaps.

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Soaps, Spice Bazaar, Istanbul

Leaving the bazaar, we headed for the Eminonu waterfront. Angela was fascinated by this roast chestnut vendor.

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Roast Chestnut Vendor

This vendor was busy organizing the chestnuts into neat and tidy pyramids for display.

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Organizing Roast Chestnuts

Following this weekend was the one of the Turkish holidays, so there were crowds of people in the bazaar and surrounding area. The gardens outside the bazaar was full of people of all ages. In the following image, I captured a pebble bed surrounding one of the trees. The design in the pebbles represents the shape of tulips which are the Turkish national flower.

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Gardens Outside Spice Bazaar

Two ladies were deep in conversation at the edge of the tulip bed.

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Ladies Outside Spice Bazaar

We stopped at the Eminonu waterfront. Moored at the waterfront were several boats that functioned as floating kitchens.

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Floating Kitchens, Istanbul

The main food prepared in theses kitchens are grilled fish sandwiches. The cooks grill the fish in the floating kitchen. Sandwich orders are taken from the shore, prepared by the cooks and eaten in the dining area on shore.

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Fish Grill, Floating Kitchen, Istanbul

At the lower level of the Galata Bridge, several workers were sitting in line, taking a break at the end of the day. Several workers were dressed in distinctive bright orange clothes that caught my attention in the following image.

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Workers Taking A Break At End Of The Day, Istanbul

Soon it was time to return to our hotel, where we would regroup for the final dinner with our tour group and Tolga our tour guide. This was the conclusion of our tour group.

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Friday morning, I woke early and headed out of our hotel before breakfast. Our hotel (Akçe) was also an Ottoman style house with a beautiful well-groomed garden.

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Akce Hotel Safranbolu

Heading down the cobbled streets, I headed to the town square by the public baths. I waited until a early morning visitor entered the scene and made this image.

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View Cobbled Street To Public Baths

I had passed by these circular benches earlier. Returning later, a white cat had climbed onto the bench and provided me an opportunity for a more interesting composition below.

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White Cat On Circle Bench At Sunrise

Heading back to the hotel for breakfast, several men had gathered on a bench in the town square, chatting and watching pigeons in this image.

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Sitting By The Pigeons, Safranbolu

After breakfast, Angela and I headed back, doing some shopping. At the mosque, close to the public baths, I made this image of the roof domes. Each of the domes has an ornament (I am not sure of the name) that appears to be the shape of a crescent moon.

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Mosque Roof Domes, Safranbolu

This mosque had a minaret at one of the corners of the main building. Positioning myself below the minaret, I made this image looking directly up at the minaret.

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Mosque Minaret, Safranbolu

At the rear or the public baths, washing lines were loaded with towels to dry. Perhaps they had been washed and put out to dry?

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Loaded Washing Lines, Public Baths

An archway leads to the front entrance to the baths. I had noticed the two men, sitting on the left in this image, engrossed in their smartphones. Both men had been sitting there for over a half hour without moving!

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Entrance To Public Baths, Safranbolu

At one of the cobbled street corners close to the baths, over a dozen cats had congregated, waiting for food. I found one cat under a bench, gazing out at the action in the street.

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Cat Under Bench, Safranbolu

We stopped at the saffron store, where Angela bought some saffron. I made this image of the store owner waiting in the doorwar for the next customer. This storefront was adorned with several posters and signs extolling the virtues of saffron and advertising other goods for sale.

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Safron Vendor, Safranbolu

We passed a perfume store, where bottles of perfume were lined up along the window ledge. As soon as I saw the donkey, I could not help but make this image.

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Perfume Bottles And Donkey In Window, Safranbolu

Various stores were selling fabric goods. Stopping at one of theses stores, I made this image of a pile of colorful fabrics.

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Colorful Fabrics, Safranbolu

Another store had glassware, that I captured here.

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Glassware In Window, Safranbolu

Many of the cities and towns that we visited in Turkey, had stores selling lamps and lampshades. I found one store that had glass lanterns hanging in the front. The purple glass had a really striking color that is captured in this image.

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Purple Glassware

Soon afterwards, we headed back to the hotel to join the rest of the tour group, to return on the final leg of the journey back to Istanbul.

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