07.05.2009 - 09.05.2009 20 °C
Okay this will be my attempt at writing with a Turkish keyboard. Note that where there is an İ I might type a ı and İ have no İdea what that looks like when İ'm on a Turkish computer.
İ can hardly believe it has been only three days! İ don't know where to begin. Typing is very slow so İ should be able to think of everything.
My arrival in İstanbul was eventful as my transfer to the hotel did not arrive. İ was kind of over the whole travel thing by then so just wanted to get to a bed before İ fell over. A great introduction to the Turkish hospitality when a man kindly saw I was looking for help and offered me his phone to call the Intrepid office...no transfer booked!
Same man offered to take me into town (of course) for 50 Euros. Thankfully, Kate at İntrepid told me that İ should only pay 30 Turkish Lira (about 28 AUS).
İ got to the hotel safe and sound and contemplated going out to the nearby Blue Mosque but...feel into bed instead.
İn my first day I covered quite a bit. I headed out early to just walk the city. İstanbul is a beautiful city and it has lived up to my expectations. The people are lovely (if a little persistent) and there is so much to see İ'm glad İ have 6 more days at the end of this tour.
First day I went to Topkapi Palace. İ confess that İ enjoyed the park next door better. İn fact my first day was mostly spent taking photos of the amazing tulips everywhere! All colours and HUGE. I also visited the Basilica Cistern deep under Istanbul.
That night İ met my tour group. İt is always nerve racking meeting a group as you really don't know what you might get. Well, İ am pleased to report that İ got a jackpot group. A fantastic range of ages and everyone is lovely. We had dinner together on the rooftop of a restaurant where we looked out on the Blue Mosque as the sun set.
Afterwards we went to a waterpipe bar for a Turkish beer and a try of a waterpipe. Tasted like vanilla. İ have a rather hideous photo of myself smoking it.
Next day after an early morning breakfast on the rooftop of the hotel over looking both the Blue Mosque and Aya Sofya, we went on a long walking tour. My feet were already sore from the day before but there is SOOOO much to see. We saw the Grand Bazaar which was pretty amazing. I refrained from spending...for now. We had fish sandwiches down by the water, enjoyed the smells and colours of the spice market, and visited some more mosques.
After lunch some of us took some of the other sites like the Blue Mosque & Aya Sofya Museum. We then went in search of cinnamon tea....which we found ın a small tucked away garden next to another mosque. The perfect spot to rest our weary feet and watch yet another street cat stretch out in the sun. Next stop was stretchy ice-cream. İ can't remember the proper name for it. They stretch it out like dough! İ daren't ask what they put in it.
Yikes, if you have read this far you are doing pretty well.
Today after a breakfast with stunning views we travelled by ferry and bus to Bursa. İ am taking a break before going to spend some money at the silk market.
Work seems a long way away and İ am thoroughly enjoying every moment. İ get updates about Savvy which keeps me from worrying. Tomorrow we head off to Selçuk (6.5 hours of travel!!!!)
We have been blessed with weather so far..İ even managed to get a bit sunburnt. The evenings are cool though. To me that is the perfect combo.
I've taken a ridiculous number of photos but then that isn't unusual for me. I'm practising my Turkish daily with the help of Yusuf our tour guide.
Well, I better get off so my roomy Jean can email her family. Hopefully next time İ will be able to attach some photos. Can't really say İ'm missing you all but can say - İ LOVE it here. Off to find myself some apple tea...