Istanbul

Trip Start Nov 15, 2008
1
3
11
Trip End Jul 26, 2012

Flag of Turkey  ,
Monday, November 17, 2008

11-17-08

Day 2

I only slept one hour on my flight to Istanbul and I entered my 31st country. It was a 3.5 hour flight.  I was kind of afraid of landing in a country in the middle of the night.  It was 2 AM when I landed.  I don't want to get welcomed to a city at night because I usually take a look at the city on the way to my hotel/hostel and get a visual image of where stuff is located in the city and it usually helps me get around better.  The shuttle was $40 to my hostel.  The people told me that is was more at night time than during the day and I later checked this information and it was accurate, so I did not get ripped off.  Istanbul is beautiful at night.  I checked into a hostel and slept until 930 in the morning.  I had bad jet lag.  When I came to England three years ago, I was coming from the center of the US in Nebraska and it was the same going to Amsterdam and Copenhagen, so six hours was not that bad, but this time I was doing a 10 hour time difference and it killed me.  Everything was right by my hostel.  Hostels are actually called pensions in Turkey.  It cost me $14 US dollars for one night, which was 23 Turkish Lira.  Istanbul used to be Constantinople and Turkey took it over.  I walked out my hostel door and asked someone where to go who was a tourist and he showed me the blue mosque and hagia sophia which were within a few blocks walking of the pension.  I decided to just keep tagging along with him and check things out.  We went to the Grand Bazzar together, which is a giant market.  It has several thousand stores.  I noticed Istanbul has several cultures.  It is right on the edge of Europe and Asia and actually also has a population of Arabs from the Middle East too.  We headed back to the hostel and relaxed some, then I headed out on my own.  I went to see the blue mosque which was free.  You have to take off your shoes before entering and I put my shoes on as I walked out the door and I got pushed out.  I think he was concerned that I might go to hell or something because I put on my shoes too early.  I was headed to the Hagia Sophia and the archeology museum, but they were closed.  The Toptaki Palace was not far away on the top of a small hill.  I was pretty huge.  It was similar to other palaces that I have seen like Hamptom Court Palace in London and the Grand Palace in Thailand.  It was still unique in its own way though.  There were many parts to the castle.  One part had weapons, chariots, guns and armor, which I liked.  One part had pots, pans, clothes, which I was not too interested in.  There was a section on religious stuff and it claimed to have the turban of Joseph along with the rod of Moses and footprints of Mohammed.  I don't care about the Mohammed stuff.  I'm not sure on the accuracy of the other artifacts, but I sure will check into them.  Turkey is in both Europe and Asia.  There is a bridge that seperates the two and I could see both Europe and Asia from the palace.  I headed to get something to eat and got suckered in to eat at an overpriced place.  Many people try to talk to you on the street here.  One person tried to sell me carpet and told me it was world famous.  Many others would randomly walk up to you and just try to sell you stuff that is pretty much junk.  It didn't matter on the price.  I wasn't really interested in it.  They would ask 20 lira for some stuff and would go down to 3 lira, but I still wasn't interested.  I took an hour nap and booked a night bus to Troy.  Afterwards, I got on the internet, then went to the bus station. 
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