Trip Start Aug 23, 1996
557Trip End Ongoing
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We were on that train for hours. Fucking hours actually. Swapping stories and telling each other what we were going to do. She was ok, so we let her stay !!! Eventually, we pulled into Istanbul. She had a room booked, as usual, we didn't. However, we were grabbed and led away. The guy wanted 50 Euros. I told him to fuck off and the price became 30 Euros. Good old Aussie lingo works sometimes !!!!!
Next morning, we should have gone to the Iran consulate to apply for our visas, but as George had not been to Isatnbul before and it was 7 years since we had, we decided to go site seeing together. Also, we now have a guidebook, so I feel a little better. Its old though. 5 years. Expect nothing else from us !!!!!
Topkapi Palace and Harem
We found it quite easily. You can't miss it. 7 Years ago, you bowled up to the front door, went through, lined up for theHarem tour, and it was done. Times change over the years. Now you have to pay to get into the Palace. Basically, it was a fucking rip off. We paid, went in and lined up for a tour of the Harem. The line was huge. Whilst waiting, a band came walking through. They were dressed in Ottoman style costumes. If they did not have their own moustache, they had a dodgy fake one !!!!! There were guys with swords and others with instruments. By the time we had our tickets, they were performing. It was fun for a while, then it ended. Luckily, out tour was about to begin. Also, you could take photos. Inside, the first room you came to was this place where these black servants lived. So they would not get toey around the 300, yes 300 women that belonged to the Sultan, their nads were chopped off !!!!! We walked through all the rooms, they were all amazing. But you can understand why they lost their empire. Similar to the French Revolution and Versaille.
We moved on, and across the road was our next stop. The Aya Sofia. We had never been in this Catedral come Mosque and we were quite looking forward to it. We went up to the gate and looked at the price and decided that after the Topkapi Palace, it was way to expensive. Across the road was going to be our next stop
The Blue Mosque
I remember thing last time I was here that this is an amazing Mosque to look at from outside but was shit inside. The price was perfect. A donation !!!!! As both Lucy and I were wearing singlets and shorts, we were stopped. I had to wear a sarong around my legs and Lucy had to cover both her legs and shoulders !!!!! We entered. The paintwork was amazing to look at. Actually, the whole structure inside is as well. Them I looked up and remembered why I did not really rate the insides. All over the whole place were wires coming down holding up the lights. They were quite low actually. We took it in, and then we left.
We took George down to the harbour and walked her across to Asia. It was so exciting !!!!!
George was leaving soon, so we stopped in Sultanahmet area for food. 7 years ago, this area was a shithole. It was now really clean and expensive for a backpacker area. We sat, a carpet man said hello and called me Ali Baba as I was with two girls. What was amazing though was that he had 3 cats and each had one blue eye and one green eye. They come from an area called Van. We are going there, so we talked and he gave us some info. No carpets though
That was the end of George. We gave her some baklava and sent her on a 32 hour train ride to Turkey. Lucky girl !!!!!
We got up early, had some photos taken of Lucy in a hejab and went. We spoke to a guy, filled in the forms, paid and he was very happy with us. As it was now Thursday, he said come back on Saturday and you can have your passports back
We bit the bullet and paid to go in on the following day. When it was a Cathedral, there were mosaics all over it. When the Sultans came in, they recorded what was there, plastered over them and did there own thing. Once the Empire crumbled, Mustafa Kemel, the first President made the place into a museum and uncovered the mosaics during restoration work. I wish I had come here 7 years ago though as there was a huge piece of scaffolding up the centre of it. A lot of the mosaics have fallen apart, but they are around 1500 years old. I am glad we paid the money to go in.
Iranian Consulate Again
Up early for our meeting again at the Iranian consulate. The men never talk to Lucy or touch her. All the work is done through me. I am called, and given back our passports. We have our visas in three days. To celebrate, we went to visit our Van friends with their cats.
We are so excited. We had heard horror stories about getting the visa, but we did things correctly and it took no time. The only problem is that we now have a night bus to Selšuk to catch