I flew from Izmir to Istanbul today. Did you know that Turkish hospitality doesn’t stop at the airport? They serve you a complimentary meal on a 55 minute flight with an alcoholic beverage of your choice. This flight cost me 65 CDN. Isn’t that unheard of nowadays? I had all these plans to do some stuff when I got back to Istanbul, but by the time I got to my hotel it was 1:30, and for some reason was dreadfully tired, to the point that I could barely keep my eyes open, so I had a nice 4 hour lay down, then headed out at around 5:30. I tried to get a ticket to the Whirling Dervish show that night but it was sold out so I headed down to the Galata Bridge area to see about a Bosphorus Cruise. Sunset was a really nice time to do it, so in retrospect I’m glad the dervish show wasn’t available. I did an hour and a half cruise, and I was pretty well the only non Turkish person on the boat. Like I said yesterday, it’s holiday time in Turkey so there are a lot of Turkish tourists as well as the usual Europeans, North Americans and Japanese. The Bosphorus Bridge is quite a sight. It reminded me a little of the Lions Gate Bridge, but much, much larger. It looks just fabulous at night because it gets lit up by an LED light show.
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Down by the Galata Bridge there are people selling anything you could possibly want. Street food, watches, jewellery, clothing, wallets. If you’ve ever been to The Richmond Night Market, it’s kind of like that times one thousand. The garbage piled up around here is astounding! I’m thinking that A.) The city doesn’t provide enough garbage cans. Or B.) People don’t know how to USE garbage cans. I’ve never seen so many plastic water bottles in my life. Not being recycled, but being thrown into the water,the street, the park, wherever. It’s a bit shocking when you come from somewhere as pristine as Vancouver… but it’s all part of what makes Istanbul Istanbul. I fulfilled the final thing on my list of things I wanted to do in Istanbul, which was have some street food. After the Bosphorus Cruise I was hungry so I stopped at a Kofte stand and had a spicy meatball sandwich. It was so simple but so tasty. No sauce, just bun, meat and veggies. I don’t know how they make meatballs taste like that. As I was sitting there I just enjoyed some people watching. This is a GREAT place for that. This country is just full of characters, you simply can’t get bored. I watched 3 women in Burka’s (the ones that are all black and have the tiny slits for their eyes eat dinner. Not an easy feat when your mouth is covered up. I watched the men fishing off the pier. I watched the guys hawking their wares on the sidewalk. It’s a remarkable city that I hope to visit again very soon. I’ve now been to Paris, London, New York City and Berlin and to me Istanbul is the most vibrant and exciting of the bunch. It’s alive, and perhaps the true city that doesn’t sleep.
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I had to wonder if this is the same fish that the men are fishing for off the very same dock.
Leaving for our cruise.
Gule gule Istanbul. It’s been nice.