Mosaic Museum and avoiding a riot

Trip Start Jul 14, 2002
Trip End Dec 17, 2007

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Flag of Turkey  , Istanbul,
Saturday, May 1, 2010

After breakfast we visited the mosaic museum, which had some lovely and very good mosaics that had been found in Istanbul. After this, we headed over the bridge to the more modern quarter of Istanbul. There we went up the Galata Tower for a view from above the city.

We thought we would then take a wander to Taxim Square via the shops, hopefully stopping for lunch along the way. However, as we walked, we noticed a disturbingly large number of police kitted out in riot gear. The nearer we got to Taxim, the more there were. Then we saw that some streets were closed, and all the shops were closed with their shutters down. Then we remembered that it was May Day, the day when people protest about things. The numbers of police cars and armoured vehicles and water cannons were making us uneasy, so we cut our losses and got out of there before something kicked off. (That night we watched on the news the large numbers of people who had congregated in Taxim Square, but there wasn't any rioting). 

Back in the peaceful Old Quarter we had a long leisurely lunch on low tables surrounded by people smoking sheesha pipes. Not long after we had our best dinner so far, where we also tried baklava, a Turkish dessert. It sounds horrible - pistachio nuts in pastry covered in honey and sugar - but it was lovely, and so light.
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