21.05.2009 - 21.05.2009 32 °C
Well, no wake up call but there is nothing like a panic 15 minutes from waking to having to get off a train. Almost as effective as a cup of coffee! Poor Alya had 5 minutes. Apparently most people had been awake most of the night with all the stopping of the train and the noisy men and women throughout the night. I slept like a baby
A quick ferry ride with a Turkish tea in hand got us to the shores of Istanbul where we walked the remaining 15 minutes to our end hotel where we had a room to dump our stuff. Breakfast at another hotel then we all headed out for the morning. I took Alia and Mari to the park I discovered my first day in Istanbul. It was to be a peaceful chance to chill out in the beautiful setting of green grass and tulips. Well all the tulips have gone! And as for the peaceful rest...
...we were swarmed by children. It is Museum week in Turkey where all museums are free for Turkish people. That means lots of school groups. We must have had a whole school surrounding us. It is funny trying to have a conversation in two different languages...it is even funnier with kids. Apparently my hair was rather a treat for them and by the end of the...experience they were poking it, touching it and pulling it. I got pinched on the cheek by one girl which I later learned meant she thought I was very sweet. There was a lot of 'Dom tek tek' which is the Turkey entry into Eurovision. There was many questions but strangely they were the same questions. What is your name, what is your name, what is your name, how old are you? What is your name? etc. etc.
Finally their English teacher appeared and did some translation. I looked like their music teacher from last year. One boy seemed to think I should be with him and another girl sat closely beside me and held my hand. All three of us were feeling very overwhelmed by the time their other teachers came to shoo them away. Then there was a lot of 'I love you' and 'bye' and kisses on the cheek.
After that I had to go try the fortune teller. Not your average fortune teller either. A chicken. Yep, I paid 3 TYL (bargained down of course) for a chicken to pull out my fortune. Then I got a photo taken with a bunny rabbit who had poop on his paws.
After this excitement Rachel and I headed to our hostel right near the blue mosque. We stumbled across an art gallery with some gorgeous art and a very character rich artist within. I don't know how he took it that I liked his wife's art more than his.
Dinner was with Mari, Lindsay, Alia, Yusuf, Pam, Harry and Rachel. A rather swish restaurant which made me glad Rachel and I had had a late lunch so we just had soup and shared a mixed meze. I had also brought along my treat of a drink I bought at lunch. It's all experience! Fermented purple carrot with chilli. Yes, it was pretty rank. It tasted like juiced pickled cabbage with chilli in it. Had to be done - even though the waiter looked at me when I ordered it and said - 'I do not recommend for you'.
After dinner we jumped on a tram to the other side of the Galata Bridge for the best baklava I've ever had. Then back to say goodbye to everyone as we all went our separate ways. The tour was well and truly over
But Istanbul had so much more to show me...