Thursday, September 13, 2012

Fragments of Istanbul (17 Oct 2008)

I've been in the whirlwind today, trying to fit in as much of Istanbul as I can before I leave (do I wish I'd been a little more energetic the first several days? You bet your sweet bippy.) It's rounding up on 9 pm and it's been about 11 hours since I left the hotel this morning. This is what I did.
1. Go to Topkapi Palace. Wow. I'll tell you what, those sultans knew how to build a palace. And keep building, and building, and building (everytime one of them did something "neat" with the military, they built a pavilion to commemorate it).

2. Walk along the trolley route, stopping at Cafe Home Made for Iskander Kebab in a pretty groovy setting.

3. Continue to walk along the trolley route, eventually veering off to head toward the spice market, where I had my first tastes of Turkish delight. Now that's some good stuff! The smell of the spice market temporarily blocked the less than Turkish delightful smell that every toilet here seems to have (even the ones that aren't squatters...I've spent more of my disinfectant wipes on toilet seats than I have on my hands).
4. Walk across Galata bridge. Once in Beyoglu (on the other side of the Golden Horn), I hiked up the hill to gaze up at Galata Tower, although I really had no inclination to go up it, then tried to make my way to Istiklal Caddesi, but headed downhill instead of up, and had to reorient myself when I found myself next to the Bosphorus, climbing back UPhill to get to the shopping district, where I wandered around a bit.
5. Went back down the hill, and got on a ferry at Karakoy to take me across the Bosphorus to Kadikoy, where I set foot on Asian soil again for the first time in 2 weeks, then wandered for about a half hour before getting on the ferry to cross back over to Eminonu, which is in Sultanahmet, next to the train station.
6. Made a short jaunt up the hill, stopping at Han Restaurant for dinner, because they have musicians. Those musicians failed to stop at my table (I was really hoping they would, because I wanted to get up and dance), but I tipped them 5 lira, anyways.

Speaking of dance, I haven't seen any in Istanbul. I feel kind of lame about it, but every "show" that involves belly dance is over 50 Euro, and I can't bring myself to pay that much for a mediocre dinner and a variety show, most of which isn't belly dancing, just to watch a dancer that may not even be as good as me. Maybe this is pessimistic of me. I almost signed up for the Bosphorus night cruise (heading up the strait toward the Black Sea), since for around $90 it involved the cruise, the dinner, and the show, but I just decided that if I want to be able to go and do and see in Egypt, I better not overextend myself here. Belinda and I both feel pretty good about that decision.
P.S. Troy yesterday was pretty cool (as long as you don't have the attitude of "seen one set of ruins, seen them all."), but dang, what a pain in the butt to get to!

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