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Istanbul - Day One – Murder on the M25

Time for my report of my trip. This is going to take awhile, I think. Blame myfeetshowit for asking me for meticulous notes!

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.

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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:

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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.

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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…
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You are such a better recounter than I am! Can't wait to hear the rest. The mosques sound... interesting (''interesting being a mix of 'pretty' and 'annoying').

For some reason, whenever I go in an impending-death-taxi I turn into a fatalist. I can't work out whether it's a good thing or not...

I made copious notes, and besides, I want to remember all this!

The mosques were beautiful - and everywhere. I loved the sound of them, it's all part of the atmosphere of the place. They make you feel like you're somewhere really different.


The view out of the plane window is spectacular - I would have needed heavy sedation!!

Love the picture of the mosque at night, with bus probably drivn by suicidal bus driver as well.

I've been watched too much Lost, I was looking warily at all the other passengers! It concerned me more than the view.

I think you have to be suicidal to survive driving anything on those roads.

Beautiful photos, especially the mosque by night. All taxi drivers must be suicidal, I had one in downtown Chicago that I swear missed hordes of other drivers by mere inches.

They certainly know how to floodlight their Mosques.

We got into our taxi at Heathrow and couldn't believe how sedate he was!

Lovely photos. Istanbul is one of the places I really want to go to - ever since reading "Pawn in Frankincense". (Dorothy Dunnett. Wonderful writer.)


It's not quite as romantic as you think. It really a big sprawling modern city. But the old bit is fascinating.

The photos are pretty - up the usual bogwitch picspam, and heee transylvania.
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.
Oh dear, that doesn't say much for their environmental strategies, does it?
Of course, this is all at terrific speed and we sink lower into our seats in case we see our impending death.
Adds some colour to the holiday? Or something...

Oh, this was defintely a colourful holiday!

These are the crap pics. I have much better, but it's taking awhile to sort them and write the posts. I might spread the posts out over the week.

>>that doesn't say much for their environmental strategies, does it?

Nor does all the scummy water either.

Love your pictures and you are a very good narrator (of course!). I'm glad you get to your hotel safe.

It's helps when you have something special to narrate.

Superb pictures! Very impressed that you got one through the plane window. I always bugger those up.

Istanbul sounds hairraising. But it's good to have your hair raised every now and then.

Luckily though, I am not typing this from the grave.
I think I will miss livejournal when I die.

Depends on how clean the window is! I got several out of the window, but only that one is very interesting.

>>Istanbul sounds hair-raising

You don't know the half of it. It's Ramadan and everyone goes out at night.

>>I think I will miss livejournal when I die

It's funny, I didn't miss it at all. Now I'm back to my tedious life, I'll just get addicted again.

Great night view of the Ahmediye! It's hard to tell, at a distance of 20-odd years, but I think that second mosque might be the Yeni Camii, or the New Mosque.

Ah, your report certainly does take me back...tell me more!

Once I sort my Hex download out, I will.

Yep, it's Yeni Camii.


This is wonderful! I'm getting a vicarious thrill, and look forward to more.

Beautiful, beautiful photos. Living in England, and living with many more historic buildings than we have in Portland, Oregon, you probably don't notice it as much, but being in a new place, one with so much history, don't you feel sometimes as though you could just stand in place and soak up the memories?

It would probably be horrible if we could but its part of the allure.

I'm glad your hassles were tolerable and the day mostly enjoyable. Thank you so much for taking those notes. I'm off to read more.

>>living with many more historic buildings than we have in Portland, Oregon, ... but being in a new place, one with so much history, don't you feel sometimes as though you could just stand in place and soak up the memories?

Yes and no. I do feel it even here, especially here. This island has been inhabited so long, it feels as if almost every small patch of land has been built on at some point, even green farmland has Roman villas under it. But abroad I don't feel the history so much as the culture, and that's what I try to soak up. In that Ottoman restaurant, it felt so right, with the shabby lived in-ness and the music. I think the soul of a place is in the music, and that's why I loved that place so much.

>>Thank you so much for taking those notes

You did ask!


Dude! I can imagine what a mosque or Transylvania looks like, but schnitzel is most difficult to imagine. Was there a sprig of parley and some lemon slices? Wah. You have to help a glutton out.

Other than that, cool pics! Can't wait to see some more pics! :D

It looked like roadkill covered in breadcrumbs, that help?

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