Trip Start Aug 23, 1996
561Trip End Ongoing
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Fly home from Cyprus on Monday, Pick Lucy up from the airport on Thursday, pick up my mate Zonth from Sydney on Friday, go to a bbq on Saturday, get shitfaced, book a train for the car and from Monday, drive around France and Belgium seeing the sights
Brain dead and surfing doesn't always work, and I couldn't find a good price, so I looked at Zonth and said, "trust your Uncle Davros, we're going on a mystery tour. You will enjoy it".
Up and in the car at 04:30, Lucy drove us to the airport where we jumped in a queue. He looked at me and said, Turkey !!! I said, you like the food, you will enjoy it, so he sat back and went for the ride.
A couple of hours later, we landed in Istanbul, metro, tram, and then we were in the centre of Sultanahmet. Hotel found, we hit the streets. It was late arvo, so we paid a visit to my Kurdish mate Murat. I met him in 05, so it was good to catch up. After a few teas, we hit the Grand Bazaar. Normally, I tire of this place in about five minutes, but I did manage to stay in a while longer. As dinner was near Murat's place, we went back to his shop. He looked at me and said, I know you're a bitch when it comes to carpets, so I'm not going to show you any, but look at this bag. I know Lucy has a liking for them !!! SOLD !!!
Fuck I'm weak !!! It was ok, so I celebrated. The pide and kebab went down a treat.
For a shitty hotel, we had an awesome view of the Blue Mosque, kind of made up for it !!! The plan was to hit the Topkapi Palace, but upon arrival, the gun toting guards told us that today it was closed and to have fun elsewhere. Next door is the Hagia Sophia. 1500 years old and still going strong. Not much has changed on the nearly three years since I've been. The mosaics are still the same, including the one that is similar to the one in Cyprus, and even the scaffold looks like its roots are growing deeper !!! Will it ever be removed ???
We followed the crowds over to the Basilica Cistern, Ten years since I've been, it was full of tourists, but I did get to see the two Medusa heads. Once out, we had a quick look at the hippodrome before it was time for the Blue Mosque. Spectacular on the outside, but in my opinion, the inside is a letdown. Yes the tiles are nice, but there are so many cables hanging down, it destroys the view. If Iran can get light in, what about Turkey ???
Back through the Grand Bazaar, with a quick pide and baclava stop, we made it over to Galata Tower, climbed it years ago, got the badge, but now there is a lift. So now I have my lift badge as well !!!
After a few more Mosques, we ended back at Murat's shop. I had seen a Turkoman runner hanging up, and we had a word on the price, and being the weak carpet bitch that I am, I bought it !!! Oh well, they're my balls that Lucy is going to kick !!!
After breakfast, we hit the Topkapi palace early. The Harem didn't open till ten, so we took in as many of the museums that was possible. There weren't many people there, so we were actually able to read the signs. At ten, we entered, and for the first time out of the three times I've been here, we didn't have to do a tour. Maybe it was low season, it was far better. No pushing you from room to room, just cruising around taking loads of photos. Fifty minutes later, we were out checking the rest. Whilst in another museum, hundreds of schoolies started piling in. We were squashed and it felt like I was being anally raped by each and every one of them !!! There was nowhere to go, everywhere we turned, they were there !!! We had to leave, I couldn't take this punishment anymore !!!
I walked back into Murats for a tea, and he laid out some more carpets. Maybe it was the abuse I had just received, but I told him to put another three aside. No balls, no ass, who cares !!!
I was feeling tight all over, so we hit the hammam for a wash and massage. The little guy I got gave me the full treatment. Digging fingers and elbows in, he even stood on my back and walked on me !!! It was so refreshing, and it made me see the light, so once we were done, I went back to Murats and broke the bad news. It was hard, but I had to be strong, so I told him, for the sake of my life, I could only buy two, and even that was going to hurt !!! Zonth, being of the bald variety, decided he wanted an all over shave. He convinced me to join him !!! There really is nothing like a good cut throat !!!
Once done, we wallked back down to the river as the book had said that possibly the best baklava in Turkey is in Galata, so we hit the shop up. I bought a bit, and soon as I bit it, it melted. This was the best baklava I had ever had. We both bought 1/2 a kilo of the stuff and then went back to the river for a traditional lunch. There were guys sitting in boats, cooking fish and sticking it into a baguette. It was nearly as good as a calamari version from Madrid.
Once done, we went back to Murat's to pick up my carpets. Zonth gave him his box of baklava and he told us that this was in fact the best baklava in Istanbul !!!
And then it was time to go
It was good to go back to Istanbul, but not on a backpacking budget. It's a funny place. Where the backpackers hang out, it's mega expensive. Weird that. Oh well, great city, can't wait to go back for more carpets, I'm such a carpet whore !!!