Page 2 of LeoPassi Travel Blog Posts

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul August 23rd 2014

I think the old adage a picture speaks a thousand words is one to embrace. I am probably guilty of writing too much and embedding too few photos in my posts. Here I have gone the other way but if you are interested in trawling through the pictures I have done my best to label and annotate them accordingly. I never set out to 'do' Istanbul as some might attempt, seeking to tick off the major attractions as listed in a popular guidebook or magazine. The first time I was in the city last year I was there simply as a prelude to an assignment for a couple of days. A very interesting couple of days mind you whilst demonstrations in Taksim and various marches and protests elsewhere kicked off. No, I've taken Istanbul mainly as ... read more
Bosphorus from Galata
Swimming in the Bosphorus near Rumeli
500 yo bastion, Rumeli Fortress

MISSING August 23rd 2014

After the initial shenanigans regarding re-booking my flight I have to say it was an event-filled week or or so in the metropolis. Istanbul, certainly worthy of the New York accolade 'the city that never sleeps'. In hindsight, as I suggested in a previous post, it was mostly about connecting with people, both fellow travelers and residents. I mentioned the thoughtful Ayse with whom I had corresponded with over the interim period between visits but neglected to say anything of the staff of the Stray Cat hostel where I stayed for the 9 nights I was in the city.There were four residents of Istanbul who worked the reception: Ur and a youngish girl, both Turkish; and Mhede and Hamet who were Iranian. The latter were both trying to get to Europe, France specifically, but had been ... read more
Fountain near Aksaray Metro.
The stairs of Liberty
Simit sellers in Taksim

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul August 22nd 2014

Way back last June I came to Turkey, indeed continental Eurasia for the very first time. I had ostensibly signed up for a month long teaching assignment in provincial north-central Anatolia. I was fortunate enough (I will qualify that in another article) to arrive early in the month, bang in the middle of the Gezi Park protests which was more insightful than dangerous. Several days later I was on a coach to Merzifon, a medium sized town an hour or so away from the Black Sea and host to a large military base. We were able to use the town as a platform to explore some of the surrounding towns and villages which included Samsun, where Ataturk rose to prominence quelling the rebellious Anatolian Greeks. and Amasya, which is renowned for a number of stone tombs ... read more
This ice-cream is famous!
Juice bar

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Beyoglu August 20th 2014

So I had a bit of a whinge in my previous post and I apologise if I lost any readers as a result... BUT my points stand :) Mostly though I am the idiot. Travelling without a gadget these days is a bit like having a passport without any pages. You are going to find yourself in difficulties at some point, particularly if you are dependent on the technology for blogging, travel bookings, flight changes etc on the go. Lesson learnt. As I mentioned it is a year down the line and here I am back in Europe's largest city, or the Mıddle East's depending on your defınition of the geographic boundaries. What has changed? If anything it seems more frenetic this time around. I checked into a hostel last Thursday near Taksım and have used ... read more

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul August 18th 2014

I know much has been wrıtten about this incredible city. As my travel guide says in the preface 'ıf ever there was a happening city is has to be Istanbul.' Ok, I'm sure that could be said of a few other great metropolitans but Istanbul is, I can confirm, a very, very busy place. I won't say too much because I'm rather exhausted. You see I have spent most of the day trying to change a flıght ticket and it has been very, very frustrating. The crux of the issue is that I have not been technologically agile enough to negotiate the change ın dates and attendant fee differences. Ataturk aırport has NO INTERNET TERMINALS people. It has plenty of wı-fı but without a gadget you are hamstrung, as I was today. If you are new ... read more
A double helping of Effes after walking the city with Brett
A view of a rather grand mosque.
Seagulls tracked the ferry between Kabataş and Kadaköy

Africa » South Africa » Western Cape » Hout Bay April 25th 2014

Back in Hout Bay the guys were getting ready for night of revelry at Sean's bar, Forex. I don't know what inspired it, perhaps a suggestion from Martin or another Dutch intern, but it was King's Day and that would be the theme that night. Still, that wasn't happening till later in the evening and we had a few hours yet. The day passed one way or another until the four of us, Sean, JP, myself and Legend, headed out for a walk up to Chapman's Peak. As I think I mentioned the Chapman's Peak road was visible from Sean's patio. It ascended in a series of gradual inclines and bends from sea level at Hout Bay itself to a few hundred feet a.s.l. at a point opposite the mouth of the bay where there was ... read more
Conquest of Chappies
It's a dog's life
Lone flower

Africa » South Africa » Western Cape » Franschhoek April 24th 2014

When one mentions South Africa to an English person the responses usually fall into one of the following categories: a) Thoughts and conjectures synonymous with the Oscar Pistorius trial (ongoing at time of writing) b) A family connection, but 9 times out of 10 not able to name the town or place where the said family reside/d. c) Cape Town: either a desire to visit it or having actually visited it (but quite often nowhere else in SA). Thus the Cape (read 'Cape Town') would seem to be the most prominent of South African geographical areas in the minds of English people generally. Why is this? Natural beauty is one likely answer. Cape Town is a beautiful town, surrounded as it is by the clear waters of the Atlantic on one side and the Indian Ocean ... read more
Who's the Legend?
Why people live in Cape Town
Motor Museum

Africa » South Africa » KwaZulu-Natal » Durban April 19th 2014

I departed Sandton, Johannesburg, as I had arrived: on the airport express service. The train breezed eastwards through suburbs, industry and intervening golf courses to Oliver Tambo International. I disembarked and scurried down the escalator to a help desk. "Where is the domestic terminal?" I asked of a young woman behind the desk. She pointed back upstairs in the direction I had seen various other people from the train heading. Feeling a bit foolish I took another escalator up to the next floor and found the SAA desk. I skirted the self check-in which I still find intimidating and joined a queue. It was being held up by a family who were taking advantage of the free cling-wrap service or whatever they call it, whereby your bags are wrapped in layer after layer of cling-film, allegedly ... read more
Suncoast Beach
Near North Beach

Africa » South Africa » Gauteng April 18th 2014

I flew into South Africa on Friday morning after dog's-legging it via Dubai. Did you know that some of the door handles are detachable in Dubai International? I discovered this to be the case when I went to the toilet which got me thinking about their aircraft. It was not conducive to a healthy state of mind (I was flying Emirates on both legs: UK -> Dubai -> Joburg) so I pushed that to one side... Detachable door handles aside the flights were fairly uneventful. I watched a couple of movies and caught a few winks where I could. The best part as far as I was concerned was looking out the window over Southern Africa after sunrise. I've always felt that if geography lessons were taught from the bird's eye perspective of a Being 777 ... read more
yum yum

Africa » Algeria » South » Béchar December 31st 2013

I can't recall how exactly we located our new lodgings in Taghit. As I mentioned before, I was happy to entrust the logistics to the others. Apparently Mustaffa, the restaurant owner, had arranged things. We were to stay in the house of a local man a few kilometres north of the town. Like a typical desert inhabitant he had a dark complexion. He was slight of stature and it was hard to gauge from his neutral expression how pleased he was having us inhabit his home. I was unsure how much we were paying but Sofian assured me that the price was negotiated beforehand. The house was a modern structure, one of half a dozen or so on either side of a dusty street beyond which was a large expanse of dusty flat-land and the main ... read more

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