Istanbul!

Posted on October 27, 2013 by Fraser Doherty

 

I'm just back from a great trip to Istanbul.  It's a beautiful city with amazing food, and being only my second visit to a Muslim country, I found the regular calls to prayer blaring out of the mosques quite a novelty.  It is however sadly one of those places overrun with middle-aged American fanny pack tourists.  Probably because of this, places like the massive Grand Bazaar are mostly full of tat - iPhone cases, fake watches and overpriced Turkish Delights.

One morning, I was taking a shower.  There was a frantic knocking on the apartment door.. I ignored it at first but they didn't go away so I figured it was important and answered... it was another guest asking what the direction to pray is.  Something i've never been asked before on my travels - I guess knowing which direction Mecca is for traveling muslims must be this constant thing they ask for, like me and Wifi passwords..

Another funny experience was that I kept seeing kids running through the street late at night.  I just assumed they were up to something the first couple days.  Then I realised they were actually just running because they were late for prayers... 

 

I loved that on every street there was someone freshly-squeezing fruit for only a quid a cup.

 

I'll 'ava baklava mate.... sorry I have a terrible sense of hummus.

The nightlife is quite fun - lots of people smoking shisha, playing backgammon and sometimes dancing to live gypsy music.  Although, weirdly for a muslim country, a few places wouldn't let me stay if I didn't drink alcohol.  And, depressingly, I was asked to leave one place for being on my own!

These guys are funny - they do a whole show when they sell you an ice cream.. Give you the ice cream on a big pole, take it away, hold it upside down over your head, give you an empty cone....

The bridge linking Europe and Asia.. full of hope... (unless you're a fish)

Aya Sophia, one of the biggest mosques in the world.


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