An exhibit of Osman Hamdi Bey at the Pera Museum. And about a pomegranate juice vendor.

So this afternoon in Istanbul, living a #Travelife, I walked from my hotel to the Pera district to see a Sunday outdoor antiques market organised by the best antique shops in the city, and then to see a small exhibit of paintings by my favourite Turkish painter.

The name of my favourite Turkish painter is Osman Hamdi Bey, and his intricate paintings and portraits of life in the Ottoman Empire have long fascinated me.

One of his most famous paintings is called “The Tortoise Trainer” and this is currently on exhibit at the Pera Museum. But my favourite painting of his is of two girls playing musical instruments in a living room. 

This is also on exhibit.

Then I began the long walk back to my hotel as I was meeting up with some friends for a kebab dinner.


Midway, I decided to buy a big glass of fresh pomegranate juice.

Whenever I am in Istanbul in November — and this has happened a lot more times than you might imagine — one of my indulgences is fresh pomegranate juice because it’s available everywhere for about 10 Turkish lira a glass.

Meanwhile, it costs a fortune elsewhere in the world. And pomegranate juice is full of anti-oxidants, so I try and drink this whenever I can.

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As I was waiting for my pomegranate juice, the vendor came up to have a chat while his assistant did the juicing.

How old are you?” He asked out of the blue. Don’t ask me why. He couldn’t possibly be chatting me up for a purchase as I’d already ordered my juice.



Age was the last thing on my mind even if I was buying a glass of what is supposed to be one of the best anti-aging fruit juices on the planet. Actually, I was thinking about Osman Hamdi Bey at that very moment, and where I might possibly buy an English-language coffee table book of his paintings, as the Pera Museum shop didn’t have one.

Then the vendor continued: “How old are you? 30?



Without revealing too many personal details, I can say that most people would probably be ecstatic about a situation like this.

And I too should have been jumping up and down, saying: “Hurray. All my years of going to Chiva Som in Thailand and having raw juice breakfasts have worked!

But, as my friends know, I always want to have it all, in my never-ending #Travelife. So I decided to push it. And I replied: “25.”

This is where I’m staying in Istanbul for a few days, by the way.
My suite has the most beautiful view in the city
from a magnificent outdoor terrace.
And that’s my private butler,
who arranged all the little details of my stay so wonderfully.

The vendor actually burst out laughing, which resulted in a rather twisted situation of me feeling slightly insulted over a “white lie” that had started out as a pretty nice compliment.

All in good fun, of course, although I was quite tempted not to hand him my 10 Turkish lira for the juice, as he did dare doubt my claims to be 25 years old.


Seeing my upset face, the vendor backtracked. “No. Actually, you look 20.

But this time, he had a smirk on his face when he said this, so the sincerity was gone. He could have said 15 years old, for all I cared. I really should have been happy with 30.

Isn’t there a saying about knowing when to quit when you’re ahead? Obviously not, in a never-endingly eventful #Travelife.