Arrival in Istanbul

28 August:

The day has arrived, Istanbul here I come.

Things I recommend; red mullet, aubergines, water melon and Efes beer.

Things I don’t recommend; waking up at 5 am when you don’t arrive at your destination till midnight.

29 August

Arrived at Old City Hotel at 1 am. Surprised by sea view, just.

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Awoke at 7:30. Lovely start to holiday with Turkish Airlines hospitality. First, an offering of Turkish delight, then some lovely food served by man in chef’s hat. Taxi driving is on a different level here.

Things I recommend; sleep. Wearing seat belts.

Things I don’t recommend; playing Palace when they’re in form. Second in the league? Can I return to UK with Palace at the peak of the summit?

30 August

A morning negotiating Istanbul’s new trams to get to Istanbul Modern and then on to Ortakoy. Kind of like Camden Town, but without the dogs on a rope. A simple lentil soup

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for lunch, followed by tea

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between two of the most beautiful buildings ever constructed, Ayia Sofia Cathedral

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and Sultan Ahmet Mosque.

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Things I recommend, figs and nuts. Sleep, still due a good night’s sleep, perhaps some Raki will help.

Sugar with Turkish tea.

Things I don’t recommend, milk with Turkish tea, leaving the jacket I’d washed and ironed in Hastings. As its 30 degrees dropping to 22 at night I might get away with it.

31 August

As a city of 14 million, Istanbul is no place to be less than 100% alert. Sharing trams, buses and pavements can be a challenge. Today we visited Emirgan Park before travelling across city to get tickets to Trabzon, 17 hours away. One more night here before we depart. Pictures include random cats

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and the Galata Tower by night.

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Caught up with sleep courtesy of an afternoon nap yesterday.

Things I recommend, the Istanbulkart, a version of oyster card, any journey, any distance for 50p.

Things I don’t recommend, coming to Istanbul for a quiet life

1 September

The most relaxing day so far, just hanging out in cafe’s and public spaces in the middle of the city. Discovered the Sultan’s Tombs, behind Ayia Sofia.

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Fed crushed peanuts to pigeons.  A Turkish girl was walking around recording birthday greetings in as many languages as possible. I contributed in the English language. Happy 18th birthday Behre.

Things I recommend, doing nothing, and taking your time doing it.

Domestic news is that Kenan arrived safely in Croatia on his holiday and that Jafer is having a taster day at the Sherlock Holmes Museum.

Things I don’t reccomend, feeding peanuts to sparrows, they prefer corn.

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