istanbul gardens

I recently returned from Istanbul, Turkey. It probably tops my list of favorite cities to visit considering all it has to offer; warm, sunny weather in October, lots of cultural sights, wonderfully exotic sounds and smells, and the beautiful Bosphorus.

From what I’ve read, Turkish gardens differ from Persian ones in that they usually do not include water (perhaps because water is less scarce here). Unfortunately, very few traditional Ottoman gardens remain in Turkey. The public gardens of Topkapi palace, Blue Mosque and Dolmabache palace we visited in Istanbul were all influenced by Roman (Western) gardens and included lots of water elements as in the examples below;

Topaki palace

dolmabahce palace
dolmabahce palace
blue mosque

oktoberfest botanical

This Sunday is the last day of the annual three week Oktoberfest celebration in Munich. The entire town smells like beer and is decorated in Bavarian colors. Just about every shop window participates, including this flower shop close to Marienplatz. Dried hops, the most important ingredient of beer, is the focus of its Oktoberfest display as seen in these hops wreaths;

hops wreath

these planters are made of barley (used for malting beer) flowers ;

hops planters

and driving recently from Munich to Frankfurt we passed many fields where hops is grown

hops fields