Olaf and I took a stroll today to see the (somewhat) nearby Dolmabahçe Palace. It was constructed rather late in the Ottoman Empire, and it is a gaudy mess of a building. The style borrows heavily from European aesthetic traditions of the time, which is fascinating for what it reveals of this dying empire looking West instead of locally or even to the East, or its much more glorious (and aesthetically consistent and pleasing) past. If you are in Istanbul with limited time, definitely give this tacky horror a miss. It probably didn’t help that it was rather hot out today, and we waited in long lines to be taken through the place, dripping sweat as we went. After our 2.5 hours at Ottoman Disneyland, we headed up the coast towards Ortaköy. I was told the walk there from Beşiktaş was really lovely, and it wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t quite the charming seaside stroll we had imagined. And Ortakoy itself was cute, but a bit overpriced. I got the impression it was the kind of area that wealthy Turks (rather than poor Turks or foreign tourists) would frequent. Still, one of the great things about spending this much time in a place is that I can get to know some of the places that regular, rushed, tourists can’t, and I kind of appreciated walking through these parts of the city.