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Trip report: When Harry met Istanbul

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Johannesburg, South...
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Trip report: When Harry met Istanbul

Sunday:

We got up early, had breakfast on the roof and hit the road. We bought our Istanbul cards the previous day and decided to use them.

Because of the Efes-factor, we decided to walk to the Galata bridge to work off the effect of all the beer we drank the previous day.

I love walking in Istanbul. I talk to everybody. Try and sell me a carpet and 10 mintes later we'll talk about husbands/wives/children/dogs and the cats of Istanbul.

Got on the tram at Eminonu and got off at Kabatas. Found the bus to Ortakoy. A lovely, sunny day.

Happy Harry bought me one of those flowery round things for my hair. I felt 16 years old. We couldn't go to the mosque as it was being renovated.

It doesn't matter where we go in the world, there is always some building being renovated or cleaned. I am becoming an expert on scaffolding. In Holland, it was the palace on Dam Square, in Prague it was the Charles Bridge, in Paris is was the Notre Dame, in Vienna it was St Stephans. I think it is some kind of conspiracy to force me to go back and see the places without scaffolding!

Back to Ortakoy. We ate kumper at some place. It was very nice, but got overcharged by 30TL. The waiter could't understand English all of a sudden, but it was fine. Our charity for the day.

We spent a lovely day in Ortakoy. It was so nice to just sit and watch all the people, stepping out with their loved ones, dressed in their Sunday best. So many people, so many stories.

Late afternoon, we walked to the bus stop and took a bus to Taksim Square. Walked down Istiklal with half of Istanbul. A sea of people.

Music everywhere. Saw some Peruvian musicians dressed in feathers, listened to an opera singer, then the band from the Fire Brigade (I think they were firemen, all dressed in red suites), some lonely cowboy trying his best and a few others. So much talent right next to so little talent!

Stopped at a restaurant close to the Galata Tower for some lovely food and a couple of Efes.

Had a long conversation with the waiter, a beautiful man with the longest eyelashes and wonderful stories to tell. Even Happy Harry was fascinated. By the stories, not the eyelashes!

We walked back by a different route. Walked down narrow streets and some stairs behind the Galata Tower. Stopped on the Galata Bridge and watched the fishermen. Do they ever go home?

Walked all the way to Sultanahmet and sat on a bench on the square, watching the birds flying above the roof of Hagia Sofia. Birds/ maybe they were bats.

And always the sound of the prayer coming from the mosques. Haunting and beautiful.

What a day.

Istanbul, Turkey
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1. Re: Trip report: When Harry met Istanbul

Hey Shiraz, nice title:)

Sounds like another wonderful day. Please keep them coming.

Borus

Brisbane
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2. Re: Trip report: When Harry met Istanbul

^^^ agreed - nice title!!

I am loving your updates, keep them coming! We go late next month, can't wait!

Johannesburg, South...
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3. Re: Trip report: When Harry met Istanbul

Thank you. Luckily I keep a journal, or else......

js4rq, watch out. Istanbul is a sneaky mistress. She steals your heart when you least expect it.

I do have friends who visited Istanbul and didn't like it. Why I'll will never understand. Maybe our outlook on life differs.. I experience life with all my senses. I love the sounds and noises of a city, the colour, the food, the people.

Some people just don't get it.

Mount Dora, Florida
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4. Re: Trip report: When Harry met Istanbul

I understand your passion. You collect stories & enjoy conversations. If you like to interact with the local residents there is no place more hospitable than Istanbul. I can't wait for your next installment!

Adelaide, Australia
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5. Re: Trip report: When Harry met Istanbul

Totally agree with you about the warmth and hospitality of the locals. Strolling the streets of Istanbul is truly a joy, every corner revealing something interesting, and if you slow down and talk to people.. well, you couldn't meet friendlier people. It's not just about seeing the sights (and isn't Istanbul blessed with those).

Johannesburg, South...
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6. Re: Trip report: When Harry met Istanbul

Monday:

We took on the mighty Bospheros.

It was Not-So-Silent-Anymore-Harry's first experience on a ferry. A lovely sunny day.

As the minarets of the different mosques disappeared in the distance, dolphins appeared next to the ferry. What a surprise! They escorted us for a few hundred meters and then disappeared. A wonderful sight.

We decided to get off at Sariyer and travel further by bus.

We walked all over the town/village and found a tiny place with two tables where we ordered lunch. No English on their part, no Turkish on our part, but the kebab was nice and we had a bit of charades going. I told them their town was nice, they told us to enjoy our holiday. I hope that was what they were saying.

We found the bus stop and the first bus to arrive was the 25E. So we swiped our Istanbulkart and hopped on. What an experience! I still wonder where that bus started it's journey, but what a sight. The little boy sitting behind me was vomitting, more or less very person in that bus was either coughing or sneezing or blowing their noses or or three. The Bus of Germs!

I told Harry that we had to get off as soon as possible. Lady Luck was not on that bus!

It drove on and on and on. All the way to the next town. The moment it stopped, we fell out of that bus, in need of an Efes.

We found a place, downed a beer, had a look around and sat down at a bus stop. I think there is only a number 25E bus doing that route, because the next bus was , yes, a 25E. We hopped on. This time no sneezing, coughing or spreading of foreign germs.

Got off at Bebek.What a place! If ever I get my dirty little hands on millions, I will spend it on a nice waterfront property in Bebek. Man oh man. It is far better than the French Riviera. Walked around a bit, found a nice little place next to some yachts and had something to eat and an Efes or two.

Next to us was the local Botox and Boobjob Club, eating their salads and drinking water. I couldn't see myself fitting in there.

After daydreaming a bit, time to look for the next bus. Walked passed some really expensive shops. And the cars! Mercedes, BMW, Landrovers. Serious money.

All I wanted was a bus full of healthy people and my wish came true.Drove through Ortakoy and got off at Kabatas.

Took the funicular to Taksim. Happy Harry really liked the funicular.

The rest of the evening was spent in Beyoglu. We walked down Istiklal, eating icecream and listening to the sounds of people talking and singing and making music. We stumbled into French Street. What a find. Not typical Turkish, but a nice place to relax and eat something and drink something starting with an E.

Later that evening we strolled back to the hotel. Hand in hand, Happy Harry and I.

Istanbul, Turkey
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7. Re: Trip report: When Harry met Istanbul

Shiraz, you should ask Efes to be your sponsor for your next trip to Istanbul :)

It's a pity you missed Bebek Badem Ezmeci's fabulous marzipans. Great report. Keep them coming.

Cheers

Borus

Nashville, TN
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8. Re: Trip report: When Harry met Istanbul

I LOVE THIS!! Fantastic story-telling! Felt like I was kinda sorta on the journey with you. Going in November and this just excites me so much! Thanks!

Istanbul
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9. Re: Trip report: When Harry met Istanbul

Local beer lovers,

Give a try to Taps@Bebek the only microbrewey in Istanbul and probably in Turkiye..

http://tinyurl.com/Taps-Bebek

Have a nice stay in Istanbul

Johannesburg, South...
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10. Re: Trip report: When Harry met Istanbul

Tuesday:

Sali Pazari!

Walk to Eminonu and jumped onto the ferry to Kadikoy. Found a taxi and for 10TL the driver took us to Sali Pazari. I love bazaars and markets.

Up and down and up and downed we walked.

I bought a geniune fake watch for 20TL and a nice no label handbag. Saw some really ugly stuff as well.

Loved the stall selling undergarments. No Victoria's Secret rip-offs here. A lot of wear-this-and-you'll-never fall-pregnant garments. Lots and lots of nylon stuff.

The vegetables were fantastic. I bought some very sweet tomatoes. There was a guy who peeled artichokes and cut them into a flowery shape. A real artist.

I didn't expect a lot of English. Instead I got a lot of smiles and friendliness.

We took a taxi back to the harbour. Then we saw the old tram and jumped on. A very nice ride. It was nice to see the locals going about with their daily lives. Mothers pushing babies in buggies and old men going on their daily strolls.

We got off and walked a bit. Found Ciya. Delicious food. Hungry Harry nearly ordered something like Kokoreci. Even for a sheepfarmer's son, that was a bit much, so he ordered some other part of the sheep.

I nearly licked my plate clean, then I wanted to buy the plate. After a firm NO! from the waiter, I contemplated stealing it. But I didn't. I'm a good girl.

Walked a around a bit more, then took the ferry back. A very nice morning.

Harry wanted to spend money. Not a lot, but he was in a buying mood. He never is. So we walked to Istiklal Cad, went into Terkoz. Harry reappeared after a while with 17 T-shirts and the biggest grin on his face. Men are weird!

Went to the top of the Galata Tower. Beautiful, beautiful view. A lovely, sunny day. I could see far and wide. The ferries criss crossing the blue water, the beautiful mosques, the roofs of old buildings, seagulls, cats and dogs. Why do all the dogs in Istanbul look so depressed?

On our way back to Sultanahmet, we decided to have a look at the old station in Sirkeci. How beautiful. I could see myself arriving there by train, dressed in a beautiful dress with a hat and gloves and a porter helping me with my trunks. Dream on, Girl.

Took all the stuff we bought back to the hotel and then made a big mistake. We walked into a restaurant in Divan Yolu. The service was bad, the prices were high, the food was so-so. But a bellydancer arrived, swinging her hips and smiling at the same time. People were putting money in her bra. We ate our food, paid the bill and ran out of there. Somehow it didn't work for me. I think Harry liked it more. He was smiling. I had this picture in my head of Harry and I lying on some soft cushions and a beautiful girl doing her Dance of the Seven Veils just for us. Not like this.

We strolled to the Sultahnamet Sq and just sat there on a bench, looking at the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sofia.