Ooh yeah - pass me more turkish delights

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October 30th 2006
Published: October 31st 2006
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Blue MosqueBlue MosqueBlue Mosque

Goodwill at the end of the Ramadan
I am LOVING Istanbul! This is a fantastic city with a great vibe. I've been here for 6 days and feel I've only scratched the surface. People have been really friendly, and the shop owners don't hassle you at all.

The day I arrived was in the middle of a 3-day holiday to celebrate the end of Ramazan (fasting period). Every one of the 12+ million people that live here were out and about. Madness and mayhem everywhere.

Cuisine is yummy too. Loving the turkish delight, baklava, kebabs and apple tea. Nothing like going through the Spice Bazaar, and local markets or shops and filling up on taste testers.

Have spent my days doing the usual touristy sites. Then been checking out the Taksim nightlife. Fabbo little bars and clubs on every floor of most buildings in the back streets.

Wandered around the Asian side where little to no English is spoken. One becomes really accomplished at pointing at stuff and charades. All good fun.

Saved the best till last and went to a Turkish hammam (built in 1584) to get scrubbed and massaged. Skin was smooth as silk and felt so mellow afterwards.


Hordes of people coming to the Blue Mosque to pray after the end of Ramazan. Aya Sofya in the background.
not a fan of cities but Istanbul is special, and I would definitely like to come back and explore it some more.

Extremely excited as I start my 4-week overland truck trip (Dragoman) through the rest of Turkey and into the Middle East tomorrow.

Additional photos below
Photos: 23, Displayed: 22


Aya Sofya (Sancta Sophia)Aya Sofya (Sancta Sophia)
Aya Sofya (Sancta Sophia)

Beautiful church built almost 1500 years ago. When the Ottomans took over they turned it into a mosque. However Ataturk turned it back into a historical site, so it shows both the Christian and Moslem influences
Aya Sofya interiorAya Sofya interior
Aya Sofya interior

Mimbar (moslem pulpit), and stained glass windows and murals
Mosaic panelMosaic panel
Mosaic panel

Empress Zoe, Jesus, and Emperor Constantine IX (11th century)

It may look like an opium den, but it's only water pipes with tobacco in different flavours like apple, strawberry, cinnamon and cappuccino
Passing the timePassing the time
Passing the time

Favourite pastime with your Turkish mates is to smoke a nargile and play backgammon

Trying an apple flavoured nargile. Quite refreshing and very sociable

Enjoying my free apple tea in a leather jacket shop in the Grand Bazaar
Turkish delightTurkish delight
Turkish delight

My favourite shop in Taksim. The double pistacchio is a winner
Modern cuisineModern cuisine
Modern cuisine

Marinated lamb pieces covered with aubergine slices and tomato-based sauce
Whirling DervishWhirling Dervish
Whirling Dervish

These amazing guys can spin on the spot for ages. Felt dizzy watching them
Basilica CisternBasilica Cistern
Basilica Cistern

Built in the 6th century as the city's water store and covers 9800 sq m. Thw water was supplied from the Belgrade Woods (19 kms away) via aqueducts

Loads of fishermen on the Galata Bridge. Catch of the day goes straight to the restaurants under the bridge

Braved a delicious fish kebab on the boardwalk before heading out to Taksim
Party onParty on
Party on

Enjoying the Taksim nightlife with hostel mates Julia, Andy, Jordan, Dov and Karl

18th June 2007

Me Too
I really liked Istanbul as well, which surprised me. A little different, I like big cities and I really thought Istanbul would be slow boring and backwards, but like you, I really enjoyed it and will be back to visit.

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