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

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Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Beyoglu May 14th 2016

Saturday: Arrive at the docks at 6:00 AM. The view coming in – with the sun rising over the Bosphorus bridge – was wonderful, lighting up Topkapi and the Sultanamet mosques. We exited the ship and transfered to the Pera Palace Hotel where we dropped off our luggage and went out into the surrounding Beyoglu District. After a few hours we returned to the hotel and sat for awhile waiting for our room to be ready. As we sat on the veranda John managed to spill an entire glass of ginger ale on Peggy, leading to a change of clothing prior to getting into the room. We had an unremarkable lunch near the “tunel” cable car that comes up the hill from the Galata Bridge and the Sulanamet street trolley. Upon return to the hotel we ... read more
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Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Beyoglu April 10th 2016

We decided not to go to the Princes' Islands today, partly because we got a late start, partly because of the State Department warning about docks, and partly because of the weekend crowds... Instead, we walked, and walked and walked....down to the water from our apartment, along the Bosphorus, up the hill to the Museum of Innocence, back down to the Museum of Modern Art, along the water the Dolmabahce Palace, up hill again (and down and up more times than I can count) to get back home! Our first stop was the amazing Museum of Innocence, a creation of the Nobel prize winning Turkish writer, Orhan Pamuk. He used his prize money to painstakingly create the Museum described in the book of the same name. I've been reading the book, but sadly didn't finish it ... read more
Head scarf fashion shoot
Police station
Some of the groups playing Turkey

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Beyoglu April 7th 2016

Last night we ate in a restaurant on a street up hill from our apartment. It was full of young tourists from all over, but no Americans that we could see (or hear). This area is interesting: downhill from our apartment are many, many electrical supply shops. Most are very small. Up the hill from us, there are mainly guitar shops with young hipster clients. On streets adjacent to the guitar shops, there are trendy restaurants and boutiques. We seem to be right on the transition line! This morning we walked down the hill to the tram station and traveled across the Golden Horn to the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia. The first terrorist attack was in the square there, so there are many police and security checks to get into the mosque and museum. ... read more
Where we ate last night...
Galata Tower at night
Ruins mixed with new buildings all over Istanbul

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Beyoglu April 6th 2016

Well, we survived a 24 hour travel day....got a few short naps in along the way, but it was so good to get into bed last night! The whole trip went smoothly..all the connections worked...no problems with lines or wait times in any of the airports. British Airways from Seattle to London was a treat: great food and service. We had arranged an airport pick-up from the apartment owners, so getting here was easy too... The host (part of the family who rents several apartments that they have remodeled for tourist stays; the company, which we highly recommend, is called Stay Istanbul) was welcoming and helpful. But the conversation took a sad turn when we asks about the effect of the terrorist attacks on business. He teared up and said they will have to give up ... read more
Suleymaniye Mosque from our window
Looking down our street
Galata Tower

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Beyoglu April 4th 2016

We fly today from Seattle to Heathrow and then on to Istanbul, arriving tomorrow afternoon. We are staying in a beautiful apartment near the Goleta Tower. The recent acts of terrorism have taken a bit of the excitement away from this trip, but Istanbul awaits, with its history spanning so much of modern times, and its unique position straddling Europe and Asia. The original plan was to take a cruise ship (a first for us...) from Istanbul to Venice, but the cruise company cancelled the Istanbul portion, so we are flying from Istanbul to Athens to pick up the ship and continue through the Greek Isles, to Croatia, and then to Venice. We next travel in Italy and Sicily for 3 weeks....and then to Connecticut to celebrate my mom's 85th birthday... We leave behind our beautiful ... read more
Last time on the water for awhile...
A visit from Luke and Alannah
On our beach

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Beyoglu December 22nd 2015

Maybe it will happen when you are standing on the Galata Bridge. The bridge crosses the Golden Horn from Karakoy to Eminonu where the Ottoman Sultans ruled for more than 500 years. The bridge will be busy, as always. Throngs of pedestrians mingle with fisherman and vendors for space on the wide sidewalks. Boat traffic of every size and variety vies for the narrow space below as they have since time was recorded. Occasionally a fisherman will have luck and pull a sardine sized fish from the gray waters below. Vendors sell steamed mussels and small bait fish to all who pass. Rising up from the bridge on either side, the hills climb sharply from the water. At the base of the hill on the “old” side of town several gaudily decorated and heavily rocking boats ... read more
Hagia Sophia Mosque
The Blue Mosque
Istiklal Tram

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Beyoglu October 5th 2015

Nach langer Vorbereitung ist es soweit - meine Reise nach Osten, soweit der Osten reicht, hat begonnen. Und welcher Ort wäre passender für den Übergang von Europa nach Asien als Istanbul, der riesige Schmelztiegel am Bosporus (Platz 23 auf der Liste der größten Metropolen der Welt), der sich über beide Kontinente erstreckt! Es ist nun bereits mein fünfter Tag in der Stadt, und bereits jetzt kommt es mir vor, als würden mich Welten von meinem alten Leben und der alten Heimat trennen. Es wird also Zeit auf die ersten Tage zurückzublicken, während ich auf der Dachterrasse meiner Unterkunft im Stadtteil Beyoglu sitze und Chai schlürfe. Tag eins begann mit der Ankunft auf dem im asiatischen Teil gelegenen Flughafen Sabiha Gökcen. Und mit IM meine ich, daß die Häuser bis zur Landebahn reichten und die Dächer bei ... read more
Blaue Moschee
Alte Bim
Hagia Sophia

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Beyoglu August 5th 2015

The Orient Express – the name conjures up images of luxury and louche characters. What I hadn’t realized is that Sirkeci Station in Istanbul was the terminus for the Orient Express. While the Orient Express no longer runs from Paris to Istanbul, Sirkeci Station still sees passenger trains stop at its platform, and the station itself still retains its architectural beauty. The station was built in 1890, and in 1892 the Pera Palas Hotel was built on the other side of the Galata Bridge with the express purpose of housing passengers on the Orient Express. It quickly became the favorite place for European visitors to lay their heads. It was the first hotel in Istanbul to have electricity, to have an electric elevator, and to provide hot running water for its guests. I wanted to follow ... read more
travel poster
Chemin de Fer Ottoman
station exterior

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Beyoglu July 24th 2015

As someone who doesn’t like crowds, I clearly wasn’t thinking straight when I decided to visit Istanbul’s most popular shopping street on a holiday weekend in July when there were three cruise ships in port. It was crowded and crazy, but in a funny sort of way it served me well. The crowds forced me to look into the little alleys and passages, and there is some interesting stuff in the small byways. I only noticed the Aya Triada (Holy Trinity) church because of the cross I saw from the distance. I followed the sokak (alley) across from the French Consulate a short distance to the church. The outer door to the narthex was open, so I went in. There was a very pleasant caretaker who motioned that it was OK for me to go inside. ... read more
Aya Triada
Aya Triada
Aya Triada

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Beyoglu April 6th 2015

We arrived at night after being delayed in Paris (are things ever on time in France?), our car sent by our hotel was waiting for us to take us through the crazy Istanbul traffic. Even on a Wednesday late at night the roads were bumper to bumper traffic. When we pulled up to our hotel it was pouring rain, we grabbed our bags out of the back and ran inside. The staff at our hotel were really nice, we were pretty tired after traveling for 2 days but they welcomed us with tea and maps and gave us good advice about things to see and do in Istanbul. The next morning we were ready to hit the town and headed across the Galata Bridge to Sultanahmet. At the waterfront we were immediately greeted by a smattering ... read more
Hagia Sophia
Turkish Coffee
Basilica Cistern




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