Kebab number 432.....!!

Trip Start Sep 28, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
The big Apple Hostel

Flag of Turkey  ,
Monday, April 18, 2011

Arriving in a new city usually drums up certain emotions, a mixture of excitement, and anxiety. The known quantities bring on the excitement, the things you have heard / read about that you are yet to see, the reason's you are here in the first place. The unknowns create the anxiety, where has the bus dropped us, how do we acquire a ticket for the local tram, where are we going to stay, what is the price of accommodation, are we being overcharged, and is this man really trying to help us, or does he have some other agenda.

The feelings of excitement and anxiety were slightly dulled when arriving in Istanbul, we definitely both felt the emotions but the 12 hour overnight bus trip from Antalya meant we were in a bit of a daze. Taking the night bus to save on accomodation costs sounds good in theory but it really makes for a sluggish first day.

We should have arrived well rested.....the busses here are really quite extrodinary and getting a good nights rest on the fully reclining leather seats should have been a breeze, but we were distracted by the aircraft like entertainment.......the drop down table, a large choice of movies on your own screen, free wi-fi and a host that moved up and down the bus with his trolley offering tea / coffee, biscuits and was difficult to differentiate between our Luxury Mercedes and a Boeing 747.

Recovered and well rested after our sluggish first day, every morning in Istanbul we have woken to breakfast on the enclosed roof top terrace looking out at the torrential rain. We are itching to see this amazing city in sunlight, but unfortunately it will not be this visit, we leave for Rome tomorrow morning, perhaps without seeing the sun at all. Our favourite thing to do in a new place is to go wandering and exploring to see what we stumble across, but it's really difficult to get a good feel for the city when it's wet and cold. It creates a depressing mood, the water, the sky and the street all take on the same gloomy shade and the beautiful minarets and domes of Istanbul's many mosques seem to just disappear into the grey sky, instead of standing out like a centrepiece of the city.

Unfortunately instead of blue skies the only colour we keep seeing is the matching yellow hoodies worn by the tribes of young Australians everywhere on the streets, branded with ANZAC Day slogans. Every group we come across seems to have a life size boxing kangaroo in tow to include in all their photos. I am sure at this time of year there are a lot of blow-up kangaroos visiting the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Basilica Cistern and the Topkapi palace, and they're all off to Gallipoli next. We're rather glad we decided to avoid it as most of the ANZAC crowds seem to regard it as a great opportunity for a big piss-up rather than an emotional day of remembrance.

It’s a strange feeling to hear so many broad Aussie accents again all in the one place. Lots of "maaaate", "oh yeaah" and "yareckon?" everywhere we go. However while they stand out and make an impression on us they pale into insignificance compared to the bus loads of Europeans and Russians visiting the city.

Istanbul has been our re-introduction to mass tourism and European pricing, both leaving us a bit shocked - we'd forgotten how crazy it can get……….seeing freshly squeezed orange juice for sale at the big tourist sites for 10 lira ($7), only to walk a few km down the road and see the local street vendor selling the same product for 1 lira really hurts, are we as consumers really that dumb…….I guess we are, at least when we are thirsty and in a hurry cause the tour leader is madly waving his flag at the entrance to the exhibit telling the group of 30 or so that we must get to the next site…….please take your photos and get back on the bus!!

Aside from the freshly squeezed orange juice (away from the tourist areas, of course) our favourite street food has of course been the kebabs. Istanbul seems to have unlimited variations on the cooked meat on a stick - doner kebap, iskender kebap, adana kebap, sish kebap - the list goes on and we have tried to sample all of them

Oh Kebab.......I do love you and I will miss you and I will not forget you.....I promise!!!
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Laura on

Mmmm kebab. Sounds just like the Istanbul we visited too.

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