Next entry

Brad’s Travel Diary

Thursday, 21 Apr 2005

Location: Istanbul, Turkey

MapCrikey, what a day!! I've only been in the country twelve hours and already have more adventures and stories than I could fit on this page.

I flew into Istanbul after a stopover at Vienna and arrieved at Istanbul around 10am Turkish time. To get things kicked off, on my way to get a visa the only ATM before customs broke and it was only a nice Ozzie couple with Euros that bailed me out. As soon as I grabbed my luggage and left customs there was already some guy trying to convince me to pay $50 to get a lift to the hostel. I made it about halfway to the hostel on the train, then I gave up changing to a tram and caught a taxi the rest of the the Antique Hotel. Unfortunatly I am staying at the Antique Hostel, which luckily wasn't far off. As I was wandering the streets of Sultanameht I had my first genuine Turkish experience...wandering around ancient, narrow streets the call to prayer started coming from all the mosques in the amazing way to start the trip. After checking in at the hostel, I dumped my bags and took a walk around the local streets. The photos tell the story there...two of the most spectacular buildings in the world, Aya Sophia and the Blue Mosque are just around the corner, not to mention Topkaki Palace and the Bacillica Cistern (I thought I'd save these for tomorrow).

Anyway, I grabbed some lunch at a little kebab place and met, of all people in the world, a carpet seller. Oh yeah, and a guy who lives about three streets away and I went to school with his sister...strange world. I'm meeting him for drinks tomorrow night. Anyway, this carpet seller grabbed me and took me back to his shop, where I was served Tukish apple tea and given the hard sell on this carpet I really liked (the one in the photo). He did an amazing job and offered me an incredible price, but in the end I decided not to get it, much to their dissapointment (and rudeness).

I decided to take a walk away from the carpet shops after three more people tried to get me to buy carpets through the park at Topkaki Palace down towards the water. I ended up back at the Blue Mosque (Aya Sophia had closed) where all these really annoying men tried to sell me postcards. I decided to come back after dinner (pide and baklava, mmmmm) at about 9. Thankfully they had all gone and the moon was just rising above the minarets as the night call to prayer was sung. So beautiful.

The people here are so friendly (even though most of them are trying to sell you somthing), I met two off duty carpet sellers in the park, we're going for drinks on Friday, and two lovely sisters (one of who is a poet) at the Blue Mosque and we're going try and meet up sometime! I'm having an amazing time, but I'm really tired, so its bye for now. Mmmm, sslleeeppppp...