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


Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Sirkeci March 20th 2015

Day1: 20th March My husband and I set out for our 3rd official international trip. Intention of this trip being our 2nd wedding anniversary celebration. We catch an 8.25 am Turkish airline flight to Istanbul. Breakfast at one of the lounges at the airport as well as a late one on the flight. We get out of the airport sometime after 12 and head to the taxi stand (taksi is what they call it). Its clearly been raining heavily and a taksi drenched in rain water arrives for us. Not to forget mentioning that the temperature was around 5 degree celsius with feels like temperature of 2 degree celsius. We show him our hotel address and he clearly cannot speak english. Thankfully he does know the area. The hotel we stayed at in Istanbul was Hotellino. ... read more

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Sirkeci June 23rd 2014

"All generalizations are dangerous, including this one." -Alexander Dumas This will be short and sweet. Upon reflection, I never really thought visiting a Muslim country would make me feel uncomfortable. As someone who is not religious, I respect anyone's beliefs as long as those beliefs aren't forced on someone else. Walking down the streets of Istanbul, it did become apparent that I was obviously different and didn't belong. More than once, I was approached by someone who said, "You are American? Do you have a gun and go pow pow?" The generalizations can go both ways. I was warned about terrorists before I left the U.S. I have to say that I never felt unsafe in Istanbul. Even on the back streets at night. My birthday wish is that we all, myself included, respect each other. ... read more

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Sirkeci November 15th 2013

Hello everyone. Hope you are all well. Indeed, I have decided that the real world really isn’t up to much so have decided embark upon another “Long Term International Cultural Exchange Programme” Or, as some people have called it a “Massive Holiday” This adventure will take me to……… Turkey for a spot of Goat Farming Iran for a spot of getting to know the people Sri Lanka for a spot of Christmas and friend meeting. India for a spot of madness Maybe Burma for a spot of not sure quite what yet. This adventure will be distinctly different to the last one. Firstly I hope to stay in one place longer than a few days, constantly travelling can get a bit tiring. Secondly I am significantly skinter this time so will have to work as I ... read more

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Sirkeci August 29th 2012

Istanbul, August 9-12 Alexis and I arrived in Istanbul a day earlier than her boyfriend, Jaren, was scheduled to be meeting us. Jaren was missing Alexis so he had decided to tour around Turkey for two weeks before returning to his teaching job in the fall. Although I was invited along, I decided to once again venture on my own and give Alexis and Jaren a chance to spend some quality time together. In order to ensure an easy, stress free adventure around Turkey I decided to book a last minute 12 day tour with Topdeck tours. My tour was not scheduled to start until the evening of Saturday, August 11 so I got to spend nearly two days touring Istanbul with Alexis and Jaren. The three of us visited the Grand Bazaar, Taksim Street, and ... read more
Alexis, Jaren and I
An example of the Cappadocia landscape
Hot Air Ballooning- Cappadocia

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Sirkeci February 13th 2012

First time in a Muslim country. Uncomfortable at first, then began to enjoy it. The food, people, sites....all very interesting. Turkish people are very warm and friendly. First time I heard the call to pray, the hair on my neck stood up. The only time I've ever heard that before is in movies. Since you hear it five times a day, I quickly became used to it and actually enjoyed hearing it and knowing people were off to pray at the mosques. Stayed at the Sirkeci Konak. Great location, near all the big sites.... read more

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Sirkeci June 28th 2011

Another whirlwind day of visiting here there and everywhere. Today's agenda includes Topkapi Palace, the Post Office, A ferry trip to Kadikoy which is the Asian side of Istanbul and going past the Maiden Tower followed by another night out eating. Topkapi palace was made in 1500's by a Sultan and occupies the most wonderful piece of land overlooking the sea and Golden Horn. It has many pavilions, large grounds, and was home to a harem, many wives and many more servants. The treasures of the day are carefully preserved and displayed including so many jewels. One area was devoted to the artifacts of the prophet Mohammed including his footprints. This area included an Iman chanting from the Koran making it very atmospheric. The Asian side of Istanbul includes spice markets, fish markets and many alleyways ... read more
Cafe culture
Water pipes
Water a gift of life

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Sirkeci June 3rd 2011

I did not awaken until around 9:30 am, which was a shocker because you could call me anything except late for breakfast since we had been in Turkey. I groggily got up and dressed and we headed up to breakfast around 10:30 (breakfast is over at 11, walk quickly!) we get to the hotel and Lynn asks us if we were up late partying since we were so late; we then told her about the previous night. She said that they all had started to worry since we usually were there close to 8 and she almost had someone come to check on us. It was so sweet of her to think of us like that, so to make up for lost time we had a very long and relaxing breakfast (I think we were ... read more
Murat and I
The amount of gold in the Bazaar
Spice Bazaar

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Sirkeci May 16th 2011

To add to our woe of leaving Santorini, we had a miserable flight that was leaving at 6:50AM, so that meant catching a cab at 5:30, and therefore waking up at 5:00. Brutal. We didn't have an alarm clock, and weren't sure if we were even confirmed or if there would be a cab waiting for us. We finally tracked down Sima, and she had arranged everything, bless her. The cab would come at 5:20, the guy would take our bags around 5:10, and hopefully wake us up if we weren't up. Sima even lent us a clock. Waking up was tough, but we managed. Kudos to the kids for being such troopers and being ready to hit the ground running. We didn't even have time to eat breakfast, so we really felt bad for the ... read more
Goodbye to Santorini
Tea Time in Turkey

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Sirkeci May 4th 2011

When we travel, we love hotels that include a breakfast buffet, and you can't beat the Euro breakfast buffet, mainly because it's so different that what you'd get in the States. No pancakes or waffles, but lots of cold cuts, cheese, olives, and olive oil, and plenty of of killer bread. They have some egg type dishes like quiche, and then lots of fresh fruit. And of course, let's not forget about strong black coffee. In the interest of maintaining a proper body weight and saving some dough, I've developed a pattern of eating a hearty breakfast and then an early supper. That pretty much gets me through the day. What's crazy about it is that we've been very active, as well. We swim twice a day, and have been walking throughout the city. Speaking of ... read more
Blue Mosque
Rally Race

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Sirkeci May 3rd 2011

I have to confess that Istanbul has been a wonderful surprise from the get go. I wasn't exactly sure what to expect, especially in light of recent events, but on every level it has been pleasant. The city is way more modern and nice than I thought. I guess I was expecting something more like Morocco, a bit more rustic and perhaps a bit backwards. The city is clean, the streets are well maintained, and buildings and accommodations are all first rate, though there are elements of urban blight here and there, including graffiti. I wonder if it is somehow tied with an effort to join the EU. Plus, instead of Burger King, they have Burger Turk. How can you not love that? Whatever be the case, we've had a pleasant stay, and the one thing ... read more
Turkish Burger King
Timeout Istanbul

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