Blogs from Sultanahmet, Istanbul, Marmara, Turkey, Middle East

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Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Sultanahmet October 23rd 2013

Wow, where to start with my 5 nights in Istanbul. I arrived at the Istiklal hostel around 7 pm after a long day of travelling which included the taxi journey from the Asian side to Sultanahmet. It's fair to say the driver was more concerned about the many phone calls he needed to make whilst driving well above the speed limit. Anyway - I arrived to a warm welcome and a cold beer. I instantly already loved the hostel - I wonder why? Given the fact I'd been travelling all day, I didn't anticipate having a few beers with some of the other travellers staying at the hostel but that we did. A few beers was the order of the day up in Taksim square which was full of life when we arrived at 10 pm. ... read more
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Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Sultanahmet October 12th 2013

Istanbul, a doua oara. Cu o populatie de peste 13 milioane, e greu sa te strecori ca sa ii afli misterele, dar nu imposibil. Constantinopol este singurul oras situat pe doua continente care te invita sa te plimbi printre minarete, palate, muzee, bazare, stradute inguste. Fiind capitala a doua imperii total diferite de peste 2000 de ani, aici exista multe situri istorice, pe care am incercat sa le mai descoperim si noi. Printre ele amintim si de Insulele Printese. Mai trebuie evidentiat aici ca in aceasta perioada am prins si o lunga sarbatoare la ei - Sarbatoarea Sacrificiului. Am fost cazati la Hotel Seres din districtul Sultanahmet, de data asta in plin centru istoric, chiar langa Muzeul de Arheologie. Hotelul beneficia de o priveliste panoramica acoperita la etajul 7 unde se servea micul dejun, cam plin ... read more
Zidurile lui Teodosiu
Apus de soare pe Bosfor

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Sultanahmet October 1st 2013

Istanbul, Turkey My hotel, the Byzantium, is located on a very narrow cobble stone street near Sultanhamet Square, the heart of old Istanbul. The streets here are crowded with small hotels and restaurants. If you are ever here I highly recommend the Byzantium, www.thebyzantiumhotel.com . The rooms are clean and the staff friendly and accommodating. The sidewalk café is a great place to sip strong coffee and watch the parade of locals and tourists. Breakfast is included and is very tasty. The rooftop restaurant has a commanding view of the Mamara Sea in one direction, the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sofia in the other. Have a glass of Raki and let the cares of the world fade away. Istanbul is such a large city with so many layers of history and culture it is ... read more

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Sultanahmet July 14th 2013

Sun 14 July -istanbul Check out of the apartment and said good bye to my host and friend Melik Firat. I decided to return to the hotel I stayed earlier at Yesilkoy. Can't face the caravan camp in Istanbul yet. Had a lazy day so not much to report. Mon 15 July Checked out of the hotel and into the caravan parking site near the Sultanahmet. Arrived at the Iraqi consulate in Istanbul at 12.30 pm and I was told by the security guard there the consulate opens from 9 to 12 noon. They were very polite and helpful. Tues 16 July - Wed 17th July 2013 Turned up at the Iraqi consulate at 9.30 am. First I was scanned with a handheld metal detector at the entrance. I had to switch off my mobil... read more
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Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Sultanahmet July 8th 2013

Mon 8th July to Sat 13th July 2013 Istanbul, Turkey Mon 8th July I have been wanting to put some more weight back on for the past 2 weeks. I have lost a weight and my waist size has dropped from 32" to 30". The trousers I have worn from the UK have been a bit loose and always trying to slip down on me. In Istanbul, there is a perfect solution to weight loss, the local people here eat many forms of pastry for breakfast. The pastry is full of flour and fat and it is perfect for someone who needs to put on some weight. After breakfasting heavily on this pastry stuff, I am happy to report that I have re-gained my 32" waist back. The afternoon was spent driving into town looking for ... read more
Seaview from hotel
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Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Sultanahmet July 7th 2013

Sun 7th July 2013 Yesilkoy district, Istanbul. Morning involved a short walk around the beach not far from the hotel. I saw the natives using a wood fired water boiler to make their tea. I thought 'this can be very useful to me on my journey'. The only problem is I don't know where to buy the piece of equipment. Breakfast - I went to a local pastry shop that made some delicious food for breakfast. It looked very fattening, but I don't care. I had a portion of that delicious pastry, lots and lots of 'Ayran', a salty yoghourt drink and some lemonade. I made a second attempt at visiting the 'Sultanahmet'. This time, I set the SatNat on my mobile phone for the mosque. It worked better than I thought, it guided me to ... read more
Me beside the beach
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My Turkish friends and their tea making equipment

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Sultanahmet July 6th 2013

Sat 6 July 2013 Burgas in Bulgaria to Istanbul in Turkey Driving from Burgas to Istanbul involved driving on more pot holed roads. The roads were so bad, the car nearly lost its other 'eye'. It fell off while climbing those steep mountains in Bulgaria, but luckily it got trapped between the car and the bumper. I discovered the problem when I stopped the vehicle to allow the vehicle to cool down. Luckily, I brought tools and some spare washers, and I managed to re-attach the 'eye' back on to the car. The Bulgarians are nice people. One driver stopped and asked if I needed help. Getting out of Bulgaria at the border crossing was easy, just checked the vignette and passport, etc and I was out of Bulgaria. Getting into Turkey was a more difficult ... read more
Cooling down in Turkey
shop in Instanbul

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Sultanahmet May 30th 2013

Today was a busy day! I woke early, took a relaxing shower, and went to the roof for a nee breakfast of eggs, olives, cucumbers and cheese. In the reviews for the hotel, some people complained about the breakfast, but this is typical arabic breakfast - a lot of light options. There were meats, bread, cereal, yogurt, fried potatoes as well. We then walked to my friends hotel nearby and waited for our personal tour to arrive. Sibel was our guide and she was fantastic! She seemed a little shy to start but soon she just became a wealth of valuable information. We started at the area of the Hippodrome and she explained the previous chariot races and the extent of it. She knew not to go to the Blue Mosque at the moment because it ... read more
View from rooftop terrace
Serpent's column
Police

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Sultanahmet May 9th 2013

Five fishermen dressed in multicoloured robes and turbans gather their fishnets near the shore. It must be spring. Beside cypresses grow violets, daisies and lilies. Fishing has been abundant and soon seagulls will appear trying to catch their part of the booty. On a similar vegetation, next to a haima, the harem entertains a gentleman. Two women play the lute for his ears while other offers coffee to him. Another harem enjoys a warm scented bath in a hammam. As these I was passing, one after another, pages once attached to a book and now dismembered. Endless pages, each so beautiful, decorated with fine flat colours and gold leaves. Gently profiled. Full of patiently hand-drawn calligraphy. Pages that slid in front of my eyes while changed in my ... read more
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