Istanbul (Not Constantinople)

Trip Start Jul 01, 2010
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Trip End Jun 30, 2011


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Istanbul Harmoney

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Friday, October 8, 2010

Backtracking a bit and finally posting about Istanbul, prompted partly by the recent suicide bombing in Taksim square, a bustling, vibrant section of the city that is always packed with locals and tourists alike. It appears the target were the police and it's extremely fortunate that no one was killed. Once again we're reminded what a scary, messed up world it can be sometimes. But you can die in your home in some freak accident, in your car on the way to work, or in some far away land, killed by a suicide bomber that has no beef with you nor you with him. It all comes to being in the wrong place at the wrong time. So before that happens it's best to live your life to the fullest and do your damn best to have no regrets when that time comes. Good bit about travelling and some of it's risks vs. rewards on this site; http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2010/10/30/20-things-ive-learned-from-traveling-around-the-world-for-three-years/#comment-78154 

Istanbul was the dipping of the proverbial toe into the Middle East and the Muslim world. It is very much a mix of the secular and religious, urbane and tolerant. An incredible and long history full of interesting sites and neighborhoods, one could easily wander around here for weeks and not be bored.

We went on the cheap here in Istanbul and stayed in a hostel dorm. Met some really great people and we quite enjoyed the ubiquitous Istanbul rooftop terrace but the place was not the cleanest. Also had a surly Georgian cleaning women/morning cook (I use the term loosely-breakfast preparation person would be a better term) who thought that anything lying around the floor of our dorm floor was fair game thus did things go missing including my beloved Zamberlan hiking boots that I've had for 10 years. Her husband or son or some relative is no doubt enjoying them as we speak.       

We visited a few of the top sights such as Topkapı Palace, Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar, Spice Bazaar. Basilica Cistern...all in the Sultanahmet area and super close to our hostel. We were also at Taksim Square as it is a very popular street with many great side streets full of interesting cafes, restaurants and shops. We also went on a nice little cruise along the Bosporus sea. We tried all sorts of yummy turkish dishes, ate sweets every day, drank cay (pronounced chai, it's turkish tea), smoked nargil a few times (flavoured tobacco in a water pipe) and walked around a lot. All told we were there for 10 days but the weather started resembling Toronto in October minus the beautiful colours in the trees so it was time to move on.

Peace and Love
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