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Published: June 13th 2010
• 12-21-09 Olympus to Istanbul
The next day we send goodbye to our Bayrams tree house friends and started the way back to Antalya for our flight to Istanbul. We stayed at Bauhaus, so we needed to take the bus from the airport to Taksim and then a taxi to the hostel. We were instantly greeted very well and were able to tell this hostel was a good one. Torrick, Tony, and Volcano were all interesting and helpful people. We were recommended some places to eat, we chose one that was close and had a three-course meal and drinks for about $20 a piece. It was kind of nice to splurge on a huge great meal. The night wasn’t very eventful, but we did take a walk to Mosque’s and on the way back the same place we ate solicited us again for dinner. I told them we already ate there and the guy didn’t believe me. We planned on just going to sleep, but we met our roommates and decided to grab another beer with them at some music place and then grabbed a hookah from Volcano afterwards at the hostel. He was cool, didn’t charge us for everything
and spoke with us for a while.
• 12-22-09 Istanbul
Of course started with the Turkish breakfast and then off to the tourists sites. We started with the Mosque’s near by and then to the Grand Bazaar afterwards. We needed to haggle for everything and left with a couple things, Harley shirt for dad and shot glass for sister. We got lost in the bazaar for a while, stumbling across: gold, carpets, clothes, jewelry, and whatever else you might be looking for. The Spice Market is next, but fish sandwiches first. The cooks on the rocking boats are quite talented. The boats are practically jumping out of the water and they are just standing their making sandwich after sandwich. They were good, thanks to Anthony Bourdaine I knew about them. The Spice Market is a bit small and repetitious, but they have whatever spice you need. I would have purchased some if I was going to be in one place or going home for my family, but didn’t do to the fact, we’ll be traveling for the next year. Baklava on the way back, not a big fan, but Katherine wanted to stop every time we passed a
Our hostel guy was very specific on which one to have and it was good
shop. I was more interested in getting a corn on the cob from a street vender, but that is pretty awful. It was difficult to eat and quickly got annoyed and threw it in the trashcan. When we arrived back at the hostel, I saw Torrick buying something outside so I asked him what it was and he helped me to order one. It was a real Turkish pizza and by far the best one I have ever had. Plus it free spaghetti night in the hostel!
That night, we played cards and met some guys that were teaching English in Kuwait. They told us many stories of making wine in secret, living in a bad building, going to a seminar for teaching and being the last ones selected for teaching some where, and being treated differently then couples in Kuwait. They were on holiday, so we played some cards and then went to Taksim for a few drinks. The place we went to was down some dark alley, then through another random alley, but at least people were out and about. We ended up in a Mexican place for a few hours telling stories of Kuwait and other
travels. Afterwards we ate a 2am snack and called it a night.
• 12-23-09 Istanbul
The following day was a very relaxed day. We only wanted to go for a ride on the river to sea Asia and Europe from the middle along with some of the bridges. The boat ride was not very smooth or warm, but it wasn’t terrible. The boat ride came with a ride up a hill to see the cemeteries and the “Golden Horn” from the top of the hill… I didn’t see it. To complete the relatively uneventful day we sat and relaxed for a hookah in a small alley.
• 12-24-09 Istanbul
Christmas Eve in Istanbul! We met up with my friend Alex that was also visiting the area for a few days. We got some roasted chestnuts for the Christmas Eve celebration (sold on the street everywhere). We walked around the area a bit, but we were heading to a bathhouse soon, so we part ways until later. The bathhouse in Turkey is a must, the hostel told us to go on the last day, because we would want to go everyday if we went earlier. It is
One of the many sections in a market
quite an experience. They put you in a small wooden hut to change into some funky shorts, towel, and wooden sandals, which are terribly uncomfortable. We sat on a giant hot marble slab with the sound of dripping water all around us for sometime. A couple of younger guys came in to give you a bath. They throw water and soap on you at first. They wash you sitting up, and then laying down, then sitting up, then lying down again. They pour soup on you that feels likes oil, which is an excellent sensation. You can really feel the dirt and skin being pealed off of your body. It is kind of gross, but the most amazing feeling after. You will never feel this clean in your life. After you sit on the slab again and then back to the changing room to wander how many couples have had sex in the wooden changing room. We went to a couples bathhouse, which is not traditional and normally not permitted.
We found Alex after the bath and headed towards Taksim to go to Church for Christmas Eve mass, however the church was gated and locked. Bauhaus was very kind
One of the many
of the Christian faith by making everyone dinner and decorating for the holiday. It was very welcoming since this is always such a big family holiday back home that we were missing. We had some new roommates and Volcano was giving us free drinks, so we played a couple drinking games. One of our new roommates received a Turkish bath in the basement of our hostel… interesting. We went to bed relatively early, because tomorrow we were going to EGYPT!
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