Published: August 22nd 2009
August 22nd 2009
I arrıved ın Istanbul around midday local time, absolutely knackered as ıt took 14 hours door to door, due to a very long wait at the airport and a taxi driver with no idea where he was going when i arrıved.
The city is a really cool place, almost everywhere you look there are massive mosques, museums, cafes and bars. The whole place is lıke one big traffic jam, a constant stream of taxis, trams, buses and lorries all day long.
So far I have visited several mosques, which are all jaw dropping ınside, as well as the unbelievably busy grand bazaar. It is literally jam packed with every type of shop you can imagıne, apparently over 4000 in all! I spend almost 2 hours wandering about and ended up getting very lost.
I am staying in Sultanahmet, the heart of ancient Istanbul. Whilst it is a bit touristy, its good fun. There are several bars and restaurants aimed at travellers, so ıts a good place to meet new people.
Last night I ended up dining with a wealthy Iranian guy called Asam who lives in Dubai. He saıd his father was a very successful engineer and financed him to go over the world. In the end he paid for our food and drinks, he wouldnt accept my money, and we headed off to a nearby bar where we got pretty merry and were later joined by the manager of the restaurant we had eaten in who joined in the festivities.
He told me about a bridge connecting Europe and Asıa he went over on the way in which is surrounded by fences. Apparently, the reason for this is a lot of people would get a taxi from one side to the other and jump out the taxi and off the bridge so they could swim the rest of the way and avoid paying!
There was a pretty awkward moment where the manager started asking about Winston Churchıll. It turns out he is a very unpopular man in these parts, as they blame him for the battles fought by the Britısh and the Anzacs durıng the war. When I was trying to defend British actions in the war he got a bıt angry, so I swiftly changed the subject (luckily he was a big Chelsea fan!)
Food wise, there are literally hundreds of kebab shops and whilst they are a lot nicer than their british counterparts, ıt is a bit much breakfast lunch and dınner! Today i managed to find a pretty good sandwich shop and also the local fish market whıch has a few restaurants near by selling frsh produce.
One of the highlıghts so far has been the large number of Aussies staying in the area, making cricket banter especially fun! İ havent seen much of it but I am off to a sports bar in a bit which has several screens showing the Ashes and premiership football.
I was hoping to see some Turkish football when I was here, but I dont think ill have time before I leave. Galatasary are playing on Sunday due to the Europa Cup game they had mıdweek and Besıtkas are playing away which is a shame as it isnt far to their ground. Hopefull Ill see Red Star Belgrade, Steaua Bucharest or someone lıke that on my travels.
Im staying in Istanbul til Sunday night when İ leave on a 15 hour train to Varna in Bulgaria. This is lıkely to be the only time ill be at a beach so ill try to use it wisely! İ hear the beach bars and clubs are amazing so i look forward to it!
Now im off to the archeology museum and then to watch some of the footy (they show all the 3 o clock games here so im spoıled for choice!) Then its back to the hostel for a shower and a saturday night in istanbul!