Published: November 4th 2010October 31st 2010
There I was sitting around in the hotel room taking it easy after a huge day of pack up the day before and there was an almighty crash. Just like a miniskip being dropped from a height, about 20 minutes later I get the phone call - where are you? There's been a bomb go off in Taksim Square and everyone is heading back to the hotel. Taksim Square is about two blocks from where the hotel is which explains the almighty crash and the sounds of more sirens than is normal for this part of town. Even though most of the crew were out roaming the streets, fortunately none were too close to the bang. Not so fortunate for the thirty six people injured by the suicide bomber though. Considering most of us have spent the last week walking past the spot at least twice a day on the way to our preferred dining venues and our favourite laundry man coincidence and timing are well and truly on our side.
Regular readers will know that this little jaunt over to Istanbul is fastly becoming a regular feature on my travel calendar. This year was pretty much the same as
the previous ones except for a little less rain and a tug driver who knew exactly what he was doing. Given that over the past years we've hit a bridge numerous times, had a tug breakdown it was finally time for the tug gods to shine a little light on me. The equally amazing thing this time round was the incredible effort to get the bump out done in a day. Eight barges and one really long bridge stripped and everything packed for either storage or the return trip home in one day had previously been a feat that's unheard of. There will probably be a listing in next years Guinness Book for it.
One of the joys of returning to the same city on a yearly basis is that you get to experience something new each time, as well as the old favourites. The tantuni man is probably now putting his second born through private schooling, but at least he's kept his prices at last years rate for us, especially since they were only 2YTL when we first started going there and they're now just short of 5YTL a piece. Although we have striked up a meal deal
with him, three tantunis and a coke for 15YTL. Another guy that welcomes us with open arms is the pizza guy, not only does he do a mean woodfired pizza, but he still throws the occasional free dessert our way to share. This little marketing ploy works well as the next visit we all end up ordering either the chocolate souffle or the tiramisu. With my vote going to the souffle as one of the best desserts going around. Convenient for most of us the laundry man is located on the way to the pizza place. It doesn't get much better really, drop off laundry (hardly ever more than 9YTL), grab a pizza with real salami and prosciutto and wonder on back to the hotel.
This year instead of the cruise at the end of the trip we were taken to a little nondescript seafood restaurant. What started out a night with a few reservations turned into one of the best last nights that we've had here. Nothing like a bit of belly dancing and audience participation to liven up the evening. Conveniently I managed to sit on the side of the table that was out of reach of
the audience participation side of things. Although there's now a belly dancer in Istanbul madly using the interweb to try and work out how she's going to cash in the twenty five Sollie dollars she's now the proud owner of for some hard currency.
There are more photos below