October 24. Topkapi .

After breakfast, Mehmed and I meet a lovely duckling from Korea. It is great to see her again, and we are very happy when we have some coffee together and visit the Topkapi palace. It is impressive to see so many relics and treasures in the chambers of this sultan’s palace. Moses’ rod is there, behind glass of course. That’s the thing he used to split the Red Sea and lead his people into the promised land. It is part of the holy history of any Abrahamitic religion. And it certainly made me gaze in astonishment, even though I am only interested in history when I can see the marks it leaves on people’s faces.

The mantle of Mohammed is also here, safely hidden in a golden tray and behind glass, and we see his footprint in bronze. How many visitors would compare the shoesize of the Prophet with their own? Seventy? And huge golden candlesticks from the Sultan’s palaces, embellished with thousands of diamonds. They must be priceless and, as I suggest, relatively easy to steal. All you have to do is hiding inside Topkapi palace, cutting the vitrine and then quickly remove the candlesticks. A foldable flying device brings the mastery thief with his pillage safely to the boat of his accomplice that lies waiting in the Bosporus.

We take plenty of pictures and smile plenty of smiles.

We talk about life over dinner. There is a warm goodbye in a beautiful teahouse with Turkish life music. Of course the musicians know very well we are celebrating a last night together, and we have some spare coins in our pockets. But the scene is wonderful.

In the evening I go to a bar with another couchsurfing friend, a very nice one. I put my little backpack under a table and dance wildly and to great satisfaction. A late dolmus takes us back home. Nighttime transportation is very good here in Istanbul.