Thursday, July 21, 2011


History weighs heavily on Istanbul, the famous meeting point of two continents.  The domes and minarets of the old city are instantly recognisable symbols of an empire only recently faded.  The red and white of the Turkish Flag flies proudly from the tops of hills.  Old and new combine to create something quite incredible.

I spent my first afternoon exploring the old city, walking around the edges of the golden horn and gazing up at the Topkapi Palace, the Blue Mosque and on the "modern" side the Galata Tower.  I briefly touched upon the Grand Bazaar  and wondered at the Egyptian Spice Market - "Fish Spice" or "Love Tea" anyone?

The constant twists and turns of ancient alleyways and the chorus of vendors shouting "I have one question: Where you from?" were overwhelming and I found myself escaping the chaos and confusion in a terrace restaurant with views over the Bosphorus.  A quick kebab and a leisurely beer saw the sun slipping away and a much calmer walk to my hotel topped off the night.  I didn't even get (too) lost.

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