Cairo to Istanbul, plus beer research

Trip Start Apr 19, 2010
Trip End Jun 06, 2010

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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Today we leave Cairo airport on Turkish Airlines to fly to Istanbul. We survived four different security checks to get on the airplane.  It was a reminder that Egypt is under emergency law and has been for a few decades, police are everywhere, automatic guns at the ready, bullet proof shields for their protection, anti-tank barricades available to roll on to the streets at a moment's notice. 

Turkish airlines is a great airline, if our trip was any indication.  A choice of meals, metal utensils, free drinks, good veggie food (ordered in advance), very efficient and pleasant all in all. 

Settled into our hotel after an interesting ride from the airport, old Istanbul is a rabbit warren of streets.  Our driver managed to move his van through the tiniest streets with cars parked everywhere and on-coming vehicles.  He couldn’t drive to the hotel directly so we needed to complete the journey by walking down a side street to the hotel.  The Hotel Sapphire is a marvellous place, right in the heart of old Istanbul.  The rooms are small but more than adequate and the staff are very helpful and friendly. 

I have decided, in the spirit of co-operation, to take on a research project as suggested by my friend Alan to sample and report on the beers of the Middle East.  I am aware that I will be placing my own holiday/adventure plans on hold for this scientific effort but it must be done.

Beer was relatively rare in Egypt. Our guide Ebrahim is a practising Muslim and as such, did not drink, but on the Nile cruise, Ivor and I discovered Sakara Beer.  Sakara is only available in one version, Sakara Gold and is about 4.0 % alcohol.  Fortunately it was served in half litre size portions and was a very good brew.

So far in Turkey I have tried Efes Pilsen, apparently the most popular beer in the country.  I have found no reason not to accept that verdict, a good beer best enjoyed as a draft in half litre glass.  I shall continue my research and report on any significant changes to my opinions or reality.

We enjoyed a pleasant meal at a nearby restaurant and had an early night.
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