Blogs from Turkey, Middle East


Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul April 27th 2024

You never sleep well when you are travelling home . More so when you are governed by the time of your taxi, the journey time to an airport and a flight you cannot afford to miss . We set the alarms - two of them for 4am . Probably far too early but we struggled to sleep . There is always that worry that you will oversleep ., miss your taxi and miss your flight . Something that never seemed so important in the van . We got up then whenever we woke however early that was . We set out when we were ready and factored in the time of the train and possibly delays . With a few comfort breaks factored in . This was different. We had plenty of time for showers and ... read more
Looking down on the shopping mall
An englishman was the architect on this stunning building
The comfy chairs in the airport lounge

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul April 26th 2024

In a conflict between the heart and the brain follow your heart - Swami Vivekananda said this and perhaps sometimes it is right . However there are times when your heart wants to do something but your head intervenes and says no not sensible . We have found we start off with the heart - wanting to do something - our heads say it is a silly idea and the head takes over . But not often . More often we find ourselves doing some very odd things in somewhat seedy parts of a city . Parts of the city that no-one bothers to look around despite the work that is going on to prettify the areas. Yes sometimes like Marseilles they can be edgy areas where you always watch your back . But then if ... read more
yes there is something in there
Was it edgy ?
The wonderful walls of the city that no-one visits

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Beyoglu April 25th 2024

We left our guide with that warm fuzzy feeling of something that had been extremely enjoyable . Sometimes you can do something and say it was not long enough/too short/could have been better /was the best thing since sliced bread . We both agreed that our trip on the boat had been one of the best things we had paid to do whilst in the city. It had delivered on every count . It was just long enough without becoming boring . It had been an experience we would remember after the memories of the city began to fade . Our next stop was to head up to the business /shopping part of the city . High on the hill Taksim Square was the place to go if you wanted shops . We expected it to ... read more
The closest we got to the monument

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Kanlıca April 24th 2024

We all piled off the Bosphourus Sunset as our luxury yacht was named and planted our feet on the Asian side of Istanbul . Our guide stepping off the boat explained that this was the wonder of living in a city that straddled two continents . The wonders of the East and the West mingled . We stopped at quiet sleepy Kanlica one of most beautiful and green districts of Istanbul . It was quite lively around the ferry port with cafes open full of Turkish muslims on holiday due to Eid . Old men and young sat in the cafes drinking coffee, smoking and there is a lot of that even amongst the young and playing cards and games . It reminded us of some parts of Greece . Very few women were about . ... read more
Yes this is Asia
In the main square waiting for the boat to take us home
Red authentic Ottoman house - you need millions to buy it !!!

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul April 22nd 2024

Today found us past hump day . When I worked Wednesday was always hump day . Now retired hump day is moveable and means whatever day of the week I choose it to be . This week we had reached over half way through the holiday so we had gone past hump day . There was less time left in Istanbul than we realised . We woke early. Being on holiday does not mean for us lying in until lunchtime . We had our penultimate breakfast to savour and as always it was excellent with a varied choice to pick at . The hotel felt busier mid week than it did when we arrived . There was no longer free refreshments as Ramadan had ended and if there were any complaints the lifts left me stuck ... read more
One of the few Baroque mosques in the city
If you sit here you are in the most expensive Starbucks in the world
The turkish soap opera film set

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul April 21st 2024

We have reached the halfway point of our city break in Istanbul . And what a three days it has proved to be. We had joined the queues leaving the mausoleum to head out into the street and to try to find the steps into the public entrance to the courtyard of the Blue Mosque . Time was perhaps not on our side as it was closing in on prayer time and the mosque would be closed to non Muslims . Everyone seemed to have the same idea . The classical facade of the enclosure walls hid the beauty of the semi domes that surrounded the prayer hall , the large courtyard and the six minarets. Apparently after the Peace of Zsitvatorok the Sultan Ahmed I decided that he needed to build a very large mosque ... read more
The fountain in the courtyard
Tiles lights and chandeliers
How did they ever imagine they could build this ?

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul April 21st 2024

Istanbul is a city that offers a great deal to the traveller . So much history to uncover and so different to the usual city breaks . Has it been worth coming ? We had no doubts about that . Istanbul was delivering by the bucketload . We could have spent a week visiting mosques. A week spending time visiting museums when they were open . And to top it all there were palaces both ancient and modern and something Roman . We knew we were going to have to miss something in this city of millions of people . A cosmopolitan city which merged East and West quite seamlessly . From the cobbled streets to the carts selling hot chestnuts and corn on the cob it offered a different slant on life from other cities ... read more
The Egyptian Obelisk
These looked as if cut yesterday
The obelisk against a Zadar blue sky

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul April 20th 2024

We had moved location from our usual cafe to another one closer to Sultanahmet Square and our next port of call the Blue Mosque . I guess the fact that the guy outside Otantik began to wave at us as we arrived and the waiters blew me hearts and kisses it was time to move on and sample something different . Not that a few blown kisses go amiss at times . The cafe stretched along the street , was under cover , blankets were available if it were cold and the cost of electricity seemed nothing as the heaters were put on above every table at night . In the sunshine we enjoyed our baklava and coffee and discussed what next . We had a short window of opportunity between prayers to walk up to ... read more
The mausoleum of the Blue Mosque
Adjectives don't describe it

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul April 19th 2024

After the sights inside the bazaars and the smells it was time to load up a route on Holafly and let it take us from close to the Galata Bridge to the great mosque of Suleymaniye. It was built like all our cathedrals on a hill meant to impose itself on the city. I wondered how many mosques there were in the city as we had passed the New Mosque built in the 17th century , the Tulip Mosque the Princes Mosque . One dedicated to Kalenderhane . They just popped up everywhere dominating Istanbul . I did consider if we were going to be mosqued out . A case of ABM - another bloody mosque . But to be fair up to now that had not happened . We were being pulled in by the ... read more
Suleymanie Mosque in the bright sunshine
Definately a highlight of the trip
This way in

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul April 18th 2024

Another decent sleep . It does feel odd to be sleeping in a large bed rather than the cramped interior of Gabby but we are beginning to get used to having the little extra room. Breakfast again was a brilliant affair . Our Australian neighbours heading for Gallipoli today were making the most of the small gym and the spa in the hotel . The Japanese guests of which there were many were filling their breakfast plates over and over again. At times the volumes on plates seemed excessive . Our pickings were sparse as we are not in love with large breakfasts . However each day I did try something different . Our plan was to pop the route to the Egyptian Bazaar and the Grand Bazaar into the phone using Holafly as our data ... read more
So much colour
This reminded me of Cordoba cathedral
Dried roses on sale

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