A Travellerspoint blog

Istanbul

Day 3 - May 7th 2009

sunny 25 °C
View Europe S&V 2009 on samandvic's travel map.

I'm sitting here in a quaint little cottage at the highest point of Sirince (still in Turkey), rocking in my rocking chair with laptop in hand overlooking the valley at sunset. Do I sound like a wanker yet? I haven’t had internet access the last few days so I’m using the opportunity to catch up. More on Sirince later.

Back to Istanbul.

Breakfast. Yep, the hotel breakfast is starting to get a little repetitive. Vicki also mentioned this morning that she is getting a little tired of meat (more than likely due to the overdose of kebaps). Did you hear that people? The girl that when served a vegetarian meal openly asks, “When will the main meal be served?” I was surprised too.

Strut. We walk the streets confidently now. Each stride coupled with cries of “No”, “Not interested”, “Go away”, “We just ate” and my favourite “We are vegetarians”.

Underwear. Last pair. Time to find a laundry, surely a standard task. As always, the ever so painstaking event of talking price in Turkey was ever so painstaking. It definitely did not exclude laundry fees. 7 Lira per load quickly turned into 7 Lira per kilo then the expected 7 Lira stupid foreigner surcharge. Not this time, Pal. You get 7 liras or I’m out of here. Might get a bit of an itch in a few days…

Aya Sofya. I spoke of seeing the Aya Sofya from the outside in a previous entry. Who would have thought a Church could be converted into a Mosque? They pulled it off but only just. A bit of a backyard renovation if you ask me. If only they had reality TV back then, we could have seen their reaction when the original domes collapsed. I can just imagine what the Catholics are muttering under their breath when they come here. Probably similar to what Vicki was muttering. I could only respond by saying that at least it is still standing. The Romans would have burnt it to the ground if reversed. Don’t get me wrong, it was beautiful but I don’t think they had their hearts in the renovation. Their motivation appeared to be more built around making a statement.

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Lunch. Nothing like a bit of sight seeing to get the stomach juices flowing. No surprises with what we ate. Another form of grilled meat with sides. I could eat this stuff forever… well maybe. Vicki’s power of suggestion always seems to affect me no matter how hard or deliberately I try to fight it. Maybe it is just that I remain in denial longer but I think I may be getting sick of it too. The highlight was where we ate. The back streets of Sultanahmet behind the Blue Mosque. Superb little spot with row after row of little cafes set on cobblestone streets.

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Itinerary. We attempted to finalise our last few days in Turkey with a travel agent. Hassle free tours. “We take out the hassle but we must also eat the foetus of your unborn child.” We’ll do it ourselves thanks. The way it turned out, we planned the trip for a fraction of the cost, with far superior accommodation and air instead of coach.

Taksim. After spending the last two and a half days in the older part of Istanbul closer to all the ancient sites, we decided to venture into the northern part, across the Golden Horn into Byoglu, specifically Taksim.

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Contrast. Taksim square was modern in its luxuries and extremely European. The people, the food, the sounds and the sites were alive and kicking well into the night. Imagine Burke St Mall or any mall in Australia for that matter, at Christmas time then multiply the amount of people by a few hundred. So full of life. It filled us with adrenaline. So much so we wanted to stay another night to feel we’d covered off Istanbul (best we could in 4 days). Finished the night with a great dinner in one of the backstreets (very Melbournesque) and some dessert from one of their many patisseries. Yum.

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Gallipolis. The hardest decision of our trip so far was to skip Gallipoli. It wasn’t made lightly and I feel un-Australian writing this but we simply couldn’t fit it in without completely screwing up the rest of our schedule. The extra night in Istanbul didn’t help but it had to be done. We will be back even if it is just for that reason alone. Adrian, you’re making us feel guilty. Stop judging.

Happy Birthday Julius!!

Posted by samandvic 12:32 Archived in Turkey

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