Istanbul, the end, no its not
Aug 23, 1996
Istanbul We had a five-hour drive to get into Istanbul. It was raining, it was cold, we had not had a hot shower for five days, so in other words, we had not showered for five days !!!!! Eventually, the truck pulled up on the outskirts of the city at a campground where the truck was to be parked as Glenn in a week's time would be driving it back with another group of passengers to Cairo. He did offer Lucy and I another trip to Cairo, but we had to go to Greece and then back to London. The Chookmobile was waiting for us and we had a big trip of Europe planned, so quite sadly, we had to turn him down, any other time, and we would have gone for the trip back. We said our goodbyes, to the people on three hands, whilst ignoring the fourth, hoping that I would never see them again. Hailing a taxi, we asked to be taken into the backpacker area of Istanbul, Sultanahmet. As soon as we had jumped out of the cab, we were accosted by men, wanting us to see their hotels. We found one and made sure that there was hot water. We needed a shower quite badly, so this was the first thing we did. We had a small wander around but as there was quite a bit to see, we had dinner and then hit a proper bed, one that we had not had in a little while. The following morning, we hit the Hippodrome and then walked over to the Blue Mosque. People rave about this, but it was nothing compared to what we had seen in Damascus. After leaving here, we went to the Topkapi Palace and the Harem. This was where the Sultans used to live, and it was excellent. The harem was amazing and this was one of the premier sites of Turkey. We tried to get into San Sophia but it was closed, so we went to the Underwater Palace instead. Basically it is a big underwater cistern that is not in use anymore. There are two medusa heads tuned sideways and upside down to ward off evil spirits. After leaving here we crossed the Bosporous via a ferry and we were back in Asia, We climbed a hill and arrived at the Black Tower. Made our way to the top and had a nice view of the city. We had done the ferry experience so we mingled with the crowd and ended up at the Grand Bazaar. Everything here was quite expensive here compared to what we had seen and bought, so my wallet was not flashed for anyone. To end the day, we went for a Turkish massage. We found an old traditional one where men massage men and women do women. Upon entering, Lucy and I were split up, Lucy went into a big communal room, whilst I was given my own little locker room to get changed and to lie down if I wanted. I went down and was lying on a big heated marble slab, eventually, a man came over with a loofer and started to wash and massage me. Before my eyes, my tan was disappearing. Maybe this wasn't a tan but was seven weeks of inground dirt. After seeing all of this, it was time to make a move, so, as we had by this stage both of us picked up student cards, we managed to procure a couple of cheap flights to Athens.