Blogs from Turkey, Middle East - page 33


Middle East » Turkey » Marmara December 11th 2014

Une journée entière pour découvrir Istanbul; ça tombe bien, nous ne connaissions pas du tout et n'en avons entendu que du positif (petit clin d'œil à Amandine et Michaël!). Du coup, on en a profité pour faire les classiques: la Mosquée Bleue (une des mosquées historiques d'Istanbul, vraiment magnifique), Sainte-Sophie (ancienne basilique devenue mosquée, elle fait face à la Mosquée Bleue), le Palais de Topkapi (ancienne demeure du Sultan Ottoman, qui nous fait entre autres replonger au temps des harems). Pour l'anecdote, nous n'avions pas assez de livres turques pour payer les entrées du Palais et un gars avec qui nous avions sympathisé dans la file d'attente nous achète nos tiquets... Sauf qu'il part devant nous sans qu'on le rembourse, on a du lui courir après pour lui rendre son argent. J'ai trouvé que c'était tellement ... read more

Middle East » Turkey November 30th 2014

Well, we are waiting for our plane to Addis and decided to go ahead and post a blog from Istanbul. We had a very enjoyable 3 days as a stopover on Turkish Airlines, which is an excellent airlines! Wined and dined on our flight from Boston. Arrived late Sunday afternoon. On our drive into the city from the airport, we noticed a police presence at every intersection. Then noticed nfic going to the airport, on the opposite side. Then our traffic completely stopped. Thinking there must be a major traffic jam, only to see a motorcade of at least 40-50 cars, most of them police cars. The driver looks at us and says "The Pope", headed back to the airport from his 3 day tour of Istanbul. As we watched the motorcade go by, I honestly ... read more
Hagia Sophia
Our morning view at Breakfast

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul November 28th 2014

Turkey’s cultural capital, the city of Istanbul, has a rich cultural heritage. This is evident throughout the city which is home to the grandest and largest bazaars, mosques and museums of Turkey. One of the major landmarks of the city is the Sultan Ahmed Mosqueand no trip to Istanbul would be complete without a visit to this grand mosque. Situated in the center of Old Istanbul, Sultan Ahmed Mosque is one of the most impressive mosques in Istanbul, which means a lot, given that there are hundreds of mosques in all of Istanbul. The Sultan Ahmed Mosque is not only a place of worship in Istanbul, but a cultural, historic and architectural icon. It is an architectural masterpiece featuring one large dome and eight smaller domes as well as six minarets. It is popularly known as ... read more

Middle East » Turkey November 28th 2014

I apologise for being so lax. The scene starts in Sofia... In the late afternoon I made my way down to the bus station after saying goodbye to the good friends I had made over the last week or so. I was sad to leave Sofia, a city I had become fond of, in the face of everything I had expected. The bus to Veliko Tarnovo was largely empty, and largely uneventful. There was nothing but darkness to see outside the window. As the rain lashed the windows I tried to get some sleep. I was able to get some kip, aided by the haunting tones of Radiohead. On arrival in Veliko Tarnovo, I was greeted with a heavy downpour. To make matters worse, the address of the hostel was not coming up on my map. ... read more

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Sultanahmet November 27th 2014

Blog Entry Two Before we get too far along I want to make it clear that Istanbul is fantastic ... great city ... super clean (more on that later) ... warm and welcoming people ... good food ... everything a traveler could want ... except ... of course ... sunshine. It has been raining and windy since my arrival, which is tremendously disappointing. I had dinner with some German friends who lamented that they were going to have to go home to Munich to warm up (for those who are a bit lax on their German geography, Munich is in the foothills of the Alps, and is not generally considered balmy). Speaking of geography, I am attaching a simple map of the Istanbul in hopes that my descriptions will make more sense ... there will, of ... read more
Streets of Sultanahmet
Sultanahmet In The Rain
Cobblestone Streets

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Sultanahmet November 27th 2014

Blog Entry Three So my hotel in Sultanahmet is right around the corner from the Hippodrome, a huge outdoor space that was used to host chariot races back in the day (much the Circus Maximus in Rome). But unlike the Circus Maximus (which remains a ruin), the Hippodrome has been restored into a public gathering space, anchored at one end by two ancient obelisks ... on Egyptian, one Ottoman. Adjacent to the Hippodrome is the Blue Mosque, the second largest mosque in the world. It is called the Blue Mosque because of the famous mosaics inside the mosque, which are made from largely blue ceramic tile. The mosque boasts six minarets (which are the cylindrical towers located outside mosques ... they are roughly analogous to Christian church steeples). When the Sultan commissioned the Blue Mosque in ... read more
Obelisks At Night

Middle East » Turkey » Southeastern Anatolia » Diyarbakir November 26th 2014

With a reputation like that Diyarbakır would certainly not seem like an inviting place although I'm almost certain that the slogan was not self-conferred. It's had a bad reputation nation wide going back to the bad old days of the 80s and 90s and many Turks were shocked and chagrined that I ventured there without incident. Contrary to what many will say, it is perfectly fine to visit and definitely not to be missed if traveling in the southeast. After 2 weeks in the southeast and short stops in Antalya and Konya, I'm back in İstanbul for a couple of days, my 5th time here since 2011. Its appeal is timeless and never gets boring even though I don't really do much more than walk around taking in the sights and incredible views. Tomorrow flying to ... read more
Mardin Kapısı, Bastion On the Right
Café On the Bastion
Can Drink Tea Anywhere In Turkey

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Sultanahmet November 24th 2014

All In the last entry for this blog you were given the wrong address for Jeff Femrite's blog for Istanbul. If you are interested it is read more

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Sultanahmet November 24th 2014

Blog Entry One Welcome ... This will be a brief seven (7) day blog documenting my trip to Istanbul during the American Thanksgiving Holiday 2014. As always, I would love for this blog to be interactive, so please comment. That being said ... if you think you have a "turkey in Turkey" joke I have not heard ... trust me ... I have heard it. So the trip over was uneventful. I flew on a recently refurbished United 777 from Chicago to Frankfurt (which compared favorably with the Qatar Airlines 777 I was on about a month ago ... please see and then on a 2.5 hour Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt to Istanbul. As you know ... I am not a guy who likes to stereotype an entire people ... but the Germans have always ... read more

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul November 23rd 2014

Many have used the colloquialism "East meets West" to describe cities like Hong Kong and Taipei as a marriage of the Orient and the Occident, but while it's cliche to portray anything as such, nothing holds truer to that mantra than Istanbul. Nowhere else on the planet can you find geography, politics, religion, and race from both hemispheres mold into an amalgam that is the metropolis present today. The people here don't appear quite Arabic, but they aren't quite European; the cuisine isn't exactly Middle Eastern, but it's not exactly Western; the places of worship aren't fully Islamic in architecture, but neither are they Christian. Confused yet intrigued at the same time, Kristina and I were excited to explore Tripadvisor's top destination for 2014. Formerly known as Constantinople, this city was the capital of four empires--Roman, ... read more
Spice Market
Hagia Sophia
Turkish Lanterns

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