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Brad’s Travel Diary

Thursday, 28 Apr 2005

Location: Istanbul, Turkey

MapThe last day or so I've been trying to explore the Istanbul away from the tourist district, I'm really sick of both the constant heckling and the bus tours full of Americans...Yesterday I went down to the Galata Bridge to have a look around, and as I didn't have any plans, decided to jump on a random ferry! I ended up in Kadikoy (apparantly, the Islington of Istabul). Not heaps to see here but I found a fresh food market and went into a normal shopping centre and it was much the same as one here, except they sell baklava for $5 a kilo! While looking for dinner near the hostel I got hauled into an empty resteraunt by a friendly Turk so actually seemed quite genuine. There was also two folk musicians inthe resteraunt just waiting for someone to arrive. I talked with the waiter (the guy who hauled me in), Mihrab, and he was really cool, he just really wanted to practice his English! Meanwhile, I'm being seranaded by these two pretty amazing musicians who played Kurdish, Anatolian and Armenian music for me (as well as some Beethoven!). I got the whole thing on minidisc so you've got to be happy with that! After dinner Mihrab even offered to waive the bill as his boss wasn't in! Anyway, he said he might take me out tonight or tomorrow so that would be pretty cool!

Today I took a ferry out to the Princes Islands, a small group of islands in the Sea of Marmara about an hour and a half from Istanbul. On the way over we passed a huge pod of dolphins, some of them leaping right into the air. It was such a beautiful day I hired a bike and rode around one of the islands. I rode to the top where there was a Greek monastry and fantastic views. It was so nice to get away from all the people in Istabul, the only other person I saw for half the ride was a cow herder! The islands are really beautiful, Gemma would be very jealous! It would seem, however, that I am yet to work out the public transport system here, because it took me a train, three ferries and a tram to get back to my hostel (I think I went wrong with the three ferries), but I saw some interesting things that I wouldn't have otherwise and can now say I was totally off the LP map which is also a good thing!