Last yearís travel-blog ~ Photos from first days in Istanbul Previous thingy


Istanbul ~ First Impressions




Iím sitting on the bed at Hotel Poem in Istanbul. The window is open, itís 10pm and the sounds of Turkey are coming in through the window. I can hear some singing, an instrument a little like bag pipes without the drone, and a drummer of some kind. Nothing matches: itís so exotic, I donít want to close the window, even though the occasional mozzie is sneaking in.

Istanbul is an amazing city of 18 million people. Today we visited the Blue Mosque, which is just a few streets away from our little humble hotel. The tiles in the mosque are exquisite; all blues and fine patterns. In the afternoon we discovered the Grand Bazaar, and got pretty lost going through it. I bought a little recorder from a street vendor; my first (in Turkey) attempt a bartering. We enjoyed a ferry ride over the Borphorus to the Asian side. Tonight weíre just taking it easy. It sure is nice to be able to take a nap when you feel like it, read a little, eat great Turkish food in cheap restaurants. We both love the Turkish food. Tonight we tried our first apple tea: very good! Terrell drank a whole glass of very sour yogurt drink: probably an acquired taste, though better than the over-sweetened American version. We have had many carpet sellers offer to show us the most beautiful carpets in Turkey. Not sure how they make a living. We have yet to see anyone buy one, though they are really nice.


We were upgraded to business class for our trip from Hamburg to here. That was a nice surprise, they said it was because of our Economy Premium membership. We felt like Lord and Lady Muck. Two days with Mau was just wonderful and getting to meet her little baby, Johann.






My favourite story in yesterday’s media was about Turkey cracking down on under-age camel jockeys. There had been more than 1400 arrests over the ‘camel scandal’. The legal age is 18 and many jockeys were underage with the youngest being four-years old. “Yo Mabel doesn’t that jockey on camel number four look a tad bit old?’ Gosh darn nothing like trying it on. But that is where we are. A dude tried selling Narda a flute for 25 Liras but she got it down to 8, though she could probably have done better. I have been temporarily banned from the barter fun since last year in Beijing when someone tried to sell me a shirt for some 20-somethings and I said no and walked away and was chased and harassed and after a fierce barter exchange paid 30-somethings and proudly walked off with my assumed ‘great deal’ until Narda pointed out that I had paid ten more than the starting price. Of course this was months before I graduated with my PhD and surely I am smarter a year later or at least I can ‘doctor’ the situation a bit better but I a bit reluctant to have a go quite yet.


Warm – perfect weather. Took a boat ride and train ride and Narda bought shoes and we took heaps of photos. Today we are going to museums. Tonight we will stay up late and cheer for the Netherlands in the World Cup.