Arrival into Istanbul and bring on the meat!!
Trip Start Feb 23, 2008
104Trip End Jun 05, 2008
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In Frankfurt I went through immigration to go out and get some cold fresh air then it was back on another plane for the short flight to Istanbul where i managed to fall asleep again. I changed some money at the airport then decided to get public transport to my hotel. I got a token for the train and made it easily to Zeytinburnu. I managed to swap platforms and get a token for the tram which was a little packed - my backpack kept getting in peoples way but what else can you do other than pull the 'I'm really sorry' face..
It thinned out by the end and I got off at the right stop - Sultanahmet and scanned my map which easily led me to my hotel. My room was basic but really clean and bright with a view over the front street and I could see the top of the blue mosque!
I had a well needed shower then set off exploring. It was just after 4pm and i had enough time to go and see the Basilica cistern. I lined up and bought tix and headed underground... The cistern, built in AD 532 by Justinian, was used as water storage and was forgotten about until an explorer heard about people obtaining water from underneath their homes and their buckets sometimes coming up with fish in them... The cistern has an amazing 336 columns and water still drips from the ceilings. It had great red/orange/yellowish lighting down there and some mellow music -- its so cold though! I was still thinking Indian weather and wasn't wearing Turkey clothes yet... There are also 2 Medusa heads in the far corner that are support some columns that look very out of place.
Needing to warm up I headed outside and to Gulhane Park for a walk - its just beautiful down there especially this time of year when all the tulips are out in bloom... I found out too that tulips originate from Turkey not Holland!
For dinner I went to a local restaurant for some stuffed eggplant followed by meat meat and more meat - very excited about the kebabs here! After i went to check some emails at the local cafe then cruised home around 830pm to go to bed -- trying to avoid the shop sellers along the way -- will have to be on my toes tomorrow!