Istanbul: A taste of the Middle East
Trip Start Dec 22, 2010
16Trip End Feb 25, 2011
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Istanbul really helped pick up the spirits of us tired travellers, especially after the disastrous train ride over...as soon as we saw what there was, we didn't even take a nap! Went out straight after and took in as much as we could. Checked out the Palace first and had a nice tour of everything. Shame there was no furniture inside but the decorations and mosiacs on the walls were amazing and a real change to all the European ones that we've been used to.
That night we were taken out by one of a friend of a friend of May's, Bahadir and his wonderful wife Burcak. Was so cool getting taken around by yet more locals =D They showed us some of the newer parts of Istanbul...though by newer, I mean like 200, 100 years old as opposed to 1000 or something haha. Walked down their massive famous main street which for the life of me I can't remember (this was a while ago now, I'm writing this almost a month later!) BUT it was amazing
The next we headed out to the Hagia Sofia, the biggest church for over a thousand years,
converted to Mosque to now Museum and of course a must see in Istanbul. Man the inside is just wow, and felt really old haha, well, it is almost 2000 years old
there was more information on the place but I guess just being there is pretty amazing. Next we headed across the road to the Blue Mosque, my first Mosque!! Was actually very excited to see the inside though it took a little while to get in, first had to find the "tourist entrance" =P and of course, shoes off. Inside the place was really cool. Carpeted floors and mosiacs everywhere! The most striking difference is the fact that there's hardly any furniture inside, just a really open space for praying. The seperate women section also made an impression but I guess that's just how they do things. Went to the Grand Bazaar after that. Yay!! I love this place, mainly for all the things you can buy here and the bargaining! The Turks sure drive a hard bargain but I think they'll say that more about us haha. I think I needed to remember that Turkey is not China where going half the original price is still a rip off cos the next day when I got to the airport, the same things that I saw at the market was 3 times the price!! =S Anyways, we spent AGES there trying the find the best bargain and we annoyed quite a few shop keepers haha, hey we're poor backpackers and we're allowed to use team tactics to get the lowest price =P. So by the time we left, it was well and truely dinner time and we were all feeling it. Hiked all the way to the other side for a truely Turkish experience...man it was hard on an empty stomache but I think we were all glad that we did it haha. Had a weird yoghurt drink which was...hmmm, interesting XD But the FOOD! Sooo nice and filling! Most of it was grilled, eggplant, kebabs, chicken wings...mmmmm. We were going to have kokorec afterwards too but no more room >.<
The next day was my last *sigh* but was a good day, didn't have to leave for the airport until night time so we hurried on a ferry and took it to the Black Sea
What a trip eh!? Can barely remember all of it now and it's only been a month! Ah but what memories!! Limited though they might be haha, but hopefully this blog will keep it alive, will be interesting to read back through it I think and reminisce about all the wonderful people I met and awesome things that I saw. Exchanges ftw!!