Not many pics in this one - but I will be making up for that.
Day One – Murder on the M25
Even at 6.30 in the morning, the M25 is hell and it took 2 hours to get 20 miles around the motorway. And that about summed the whole trip up, delays and mishaps and delays again. I don’t think someone wanted us to go.
The flight was delayed for an hour but was quite good once we got going. I had a window seat and got to watch us fly down the Thames, over the Netherlands and Germany then down over Romania and Bulgaria.
Look Transylvania (at least I believe it is)! I think Dracula is nicely tucked up in his coffin though.
We were staying about half an hour away from the airport, so we had a drive (at suicidal speed) through the modern parts of Istanbul, which is high-rise and concrete-shabby and we shall speak of it no more, to the old city, the heart of Byzantium. Our hotel was just down the hill from the famous Blue Mosque, and therefore well within deafening distance from the megaphones blasting out the Muezzin’s call to prayer (actually we were well within the range of about four or five mosques; they seem to complete – not amusing at about five in the morning, or so I gather from my parents. The deafness in my right ear from the infection had its uses!).
The view from the hotel’s roof terrace restaurant:
After a dinner of Chicken Schnitzel (Sorry mskakaako it just doesn’t occur to me to take pics of food), we went down to the Galata Bridge, where the Golden Horn (it’s a river! Dirty people) meets the Bosphorus and the Sea of Marmara, to take in some sights.
Now I have to admit to not being the best traveller in world (I have come to realise though that my pretty well travelled parents are actually much worse – more on that later), and Galata was terrifying. We strolled along the front, which smelt somewhat of roasting corn and rotting fish, amongst large groups of dodgy looking men and vendors, selling shoes and camera bags, mobile phone accessories and warm furry clothes for the coming winter. I wouldn’t trust any of them and I wanted to be as far away as possible. Not a good impression for a first night, but in hindsight I think it was just the area.
Mosque by the Galata Bridge. I have forgotten the name of it.
Crossing the bridge, we came across loads of people fishing from it; though all they seemed to catch were plastic bags and the occasional sock. You can walk underneath the bridge, where there are seafood restaurants, and you go under their lines. Might not be a good idea to wear a hat here, lest it gets hooked. My photos of this didn’t come out.
Bored now, we obtain a taxi by waving a 5 Euro note at he driver. Pity he has no idea where the hotel is, and we get a delightful tour of the cobbled and bumpy back streets as he goes to ask his mates where it is. Of course, this is all at terrific speed and we sink lower into our seats in case we see our impending death.
Luckily though, I am not typing this from the grave. We live for another day…