Thursday, October 24, 2013

Home in Spokane . . .

Fall is finally here. The leaves on the cherry tree outside our window have started to droop with red and gold. Yesterday afternoon, we walked through the grounds at Finch Arboretum, the sun just right to highlight the changing colors.

Finch Arboretum (Camp 2013)
 The trees here, some 2,000 over 56 acres, are a wonderful mix of color with lots of pines and rocky volcanic outcrops.
Finch Arboretum (Camp 2013)
 We found Flowering Crabapple and this delicious splash of color -- the amazing Rainbow Variegated Dogwood.

Finch Arboretum (Camp 2013)

These memories will keep us warm once winter brings snow.

Finch Arboretum (Camp 2013)
For November, I'd like to explore the Orkneys once again as a tie in for the release of my novel, Standing Stones. I'm still working on getting photos up on Flickr, and you are free to use any you like. 

We have wanderlust again. We're planning a trip across Canada next summer to follow the Fur Brigade Express -- if all goes well.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

A visit to Rustem Pasha . . .

Courtyard, Rustem Pasha (Camp 2004)
As we explored Istanbul, we read of a tiny Ottoman mosque built in 1561, now just above the Strawmat Makers Market.

We walked through the market, planning to return after our visit, found the stairs leading up to the mosque, and suddenly, we were above the bustle of the market in a tiny courtyard, just big enough to walk back and forth, but a courtyard nevertheless with a sense of peace.

Open to the public whenever prayers are not scheduled, we found the mosque quite deserted. We spent about an hour there, admiring the architecture and the famous Iznik tiles in this beautiful house of prayer.

Tree of Life, Iznik Tile (Camp 2004)
Everywhere the famous Iznik tiles greeted us, including a large panel of the Tree of Life and another showing the direction of Mecca. Iznik tiles were everywhere -- on walls, columns, and the minbar itself. Note, the minbar is that raised platform from which the iman speaks to the congregation. Here, at Rustem Pasha, the minbar was heavily carved (see below).
Women's Hall for Prayer (Camp 2004)

One of four domes, Rustem Pasha (Camp 2004)

Minbar, Rustem Pasha (Camp 2004)

Floral and geometric designs
of Iznik tile (Camp 2004)

Elephant columns, Rustem Pasha (Camp 2004)
The sharp contrast between the busy market below and this mosque, light-filled and quiet, a place of prayer, was extraordinary.

I discovered that few foreign tourists visit this mosque because it is a little out of the way, near the perhaps more tempting Spice Market. I also discovered that Rustem Pasha, a grand vizir to Suleiman the Great, was beheaded for intrigue, though he was married to a daughter of the sultan. This beautiful mosque was built after his death.

Read more about the Rustem Pasha on Wikipedia and at A Taste of Travel (really fine pictures here of the architecture and tiles).

NOTE: I'm converting pictures from old CDs to the cloud (and on Flickr), but I lost the CD carrier for about a month. What is lost is sometimes found, so these memories can be shared with you. I will be back with more of Istanbul with my next post.