Istanbul to cairo

Trip Start Feb 19, 2010
1
21
25
Trip End Jun 06, 2010


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Where I stayed
holiday express hotel

Flag of Egypt  ,
Tuesday, May 11, 2010

We arrived quite late to our hotel after picking the wrong immigration queue. our guy processed one person while the line next door processed 3-5 people. nothing more frustrating than a slow moving line. After arriving at our hotel we ventured out to get a late snack, Kebab!!
In the morning we made our way to the Grand Bazaar, one massive undercover market with lots of silver, leather, mosaic plates and lights, Turkish delight and souvenirs. All the vendors suggesting we could come into there stall to spend our money. From the Bazaar we headed to the Suleyman mosque and grave yard where suleyman the magnificent (might have to google him) and the Architect Sinan (think he designed the blue mosaic) are buried. We also had a Turkish Bath at the suleymaniye turkish baths. A turkish bath involves putting on some very bad rag type bikini type and shorts, going into a room that is 38C and humid. sitting or lying on a hot marble stone for 30mins. after 30mins a guy will come in and splash cold water on you and then scrub you with a Loofa and then give you a very bubbly massage/wash including a shampoo if you like. you can then if you like continue to sit in the hot room or leave. On leaving you get given a dry towel and remove bathers (if you want to call them that) in a nearby room. on leaving this room a person will wrap another towel around your neck and shoulders and another around you head. You then go to another room to sit in your towels and drink tea or juice or water before going back to your change room and getting you clothes. On very strange but nice experience.
On leaving the baths we got very lost and wondered the streets in the wrong direction for a little to long. If the Turkish have no idea what you are asking they normally say "no problem" and will point you in the direction they think you are asking about.
The next day we started our tour and got on the road to Gallipoli which took around 5 hrs to get there. Such history in the area, it is hard not to be moved by some of the stories we were told and things we saw in the museum. I found it fascinating that trenches for the ANZACs and Turks at places were only 8m apart and they would trade food and cigarettes across the battle line.
After vising the memorials for the Aussies and the New Zealanders we went to the turkish memorial.
From Gallipoli we caught the ferry across the strait. Kids were throwing sunflower seeds of the side of the ferry so we had a big flock of seagulls follow us the whole way across. That night we stayed in a lovely resort just outside of Troy.
Troy was amazing we were walking on ruins from a city around 5000 years old. We got told the story's of the Trojan horse and how the area was such an important trading route as it is the boarder between Asia and Europe. every time we went close to the water or crossed the water they would let us know if we were in Asia (Troy side) or Europe (Gallipoli and Istanbul side) the tour around Troy was quiet quick so we got some free time to wander around the small town near the ferry and then see some forts that were used not only in WW1 but also in the defense of Troy 100's of years before. We then had a Ferry ride back to Europe and 5hr bus ride back to Istanbul.
In Istanbul again and we stuck to the main roads being very careful not to get lost again. we went to the spice market, pity cameras cant give yo a smell. we then did a 2 hr cruise up the Bosphorus river. one of the busiest shipping straits in the world and again separates Europe and Asia. After the cruise we walked around Sultanahmet - the main tourist area before getting another turkish bath. this time it was at the Cemberlitas baths which unlike the first one has the sexes in different areas. the soaking room in this one was not as hot the scrubbing didn't go for as long but it had a hot pool and oil massage. As strange as it sounds i think i preferred the first one this one felt more commercial.
our last day in Istanbul and we went into all the famous buildings
- Topkapi Palace
- Hagia Sofia aka the red mosque - originally built as a catholic church in 500AD and then converted into a mosque weird seeing Muslim writing with a picture of Mary behind it.
- Blue Mosque
- Hippodrome - more like a park
- Yerebatan cistern - an underground dam used to store water
- back to the grand Bazaar
 and some window shopping in the Bayazit area
One very busy day.
we next had a travel day to arrive in Cairo.
things Istanbul and Cairo have in common
- we can do that "no problem"
- if there is 2 marked lanes for traffic you drive as if there was 3
- if a car gets to close beep
- if you think some is driving to slow beep many times and flick your lights at them
- if the speed limit is 70 then do around 100-110
NO i do not want to sit in the front seat.
Today in Cairo we went to 2 different areas to see the Pyramids and had a camel ride. There is not much for tourists to do here so we are staying in around our hotel except for when we have organized a driver to take us to places. Tomorrow we are going to the "old city" to go to a market and museum where Tutankhamen's treasures are displayed and doing a dinner cruise on the Nile.
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Comments

jo ebeyer on

That was a funny blog, thanks very entertaining

jo

Kat on

Do you guys ever sleep?? :-)

Kim from the cruise on

Hey ladies!! I have finally found a moment to say HELLOOOO. I hope all is absolutely wonderful. I LOVEEE the Troy pictures (secret love of mine is history and ancient Greece). Great pictures and blog :) ttyl

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