Friday, October 30, 2015

When in....

When in Istanbul, or anywhere for that matter, travel like a native.   

We set out from our hotel bright and early, yes scratch that...we were lazy this morning and slept in until 9:30am.  By the time we showered and dressed, we missed the hotel breakfast.  However, the Ritz Carlton was very accommodating.  A very kind gentleman seated us in the dining room and began rattling off delicious foods he could bring us from the kitchen.  "Yes" to everything and in short order, it was delivered to our table.

Full of confidence and a great meal, we set out on our trek.  Nothing matched the description the concierge scratched with penned lines on the map, but we were not intimidated.  There was only one way to the tram station and it was down a very steep hill. (By the time we returned to the hotel, we determined that Istanbul is not an easy walking city for a disabled person.)

As we made our way toward the tram station, the call to prayer began.  I joined in silently...."please get us to the old city." Message sent.  Message received.  

Like an intimidating barrier, the "Istanbulcard" machine was a big, harshly yellow, menacing box, with rows of black buttons and instructions in both Turkish and broken English. The line behind me was impatient as I tried to make sense of the directions. It was daunting. However, everywhere we go, there are nice people who either want to help or get you out of their way, so it was no surprise that someone stepped forward to lend a hand.  Old city, here we come.

Everything in Istanbul is crowded: the streets, the tram cars and the sidewalks.  People fill this city in a mosaic of colors and textures...old and young, brown and light skinned, smartly dressed and those covered in black berkas, buildings centuries old next to McDonalds and Burger King.  A cacophony of sounds and languages, with urgent shop keepers bidding passersby to see inside their shops.  One shouted " I have everything inside, except customers."

It was a fun day in a fascinating city.  We walked for miles, uphill and downhill, through a maze of passage ways in the Spice Market and the Grand Bazaar, down a cosmopolitan street en route to Hagia Sophia, back to the tram, over to the funicular that took us up to Taksim Square and then followed a long winding road back to the hotel. Pooped, we enjoyed a very pleasant rest and the generous libations offered  in the hotel lounge.
"Turkish delight" - colorful and delicious.
Turkey is delightful!

Something for every taste...conservative

Lingerie in shop windows in a conservative country! 
"Hello, little man"
Creepy child-sized mannequins with
black marker moustaches!

I photograph brooms around the world.
This one was in the Grand Bazaar


  1. I bet you guys were pooped! Sounds like an excellent tour of the city! Great photos! (The comment box is showing up just fine for me, but that's just me.)

    1. Yes, pooped! It's 3:30 am Turkish time. I had an "afternoon nap" and am now wide awake. I wonder when I will adjust to the time change. So glad the comment box is working.

  2. Wow. I just read previous posts up until this one! I love how it feels like I am with you or how your descriptions stir inside the desire to go! Keep writing because it is wonderful!

  3. Thank you, Leanne. Next voyage, come along!