Trip Start Apr 05, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Friday, April 23, 2010

We left Romania early morning to get to Istanbul around lunchtime, giving us a full three days there. I slept on the way and woke up to roads full of traffic and yellow cabs, for a split second I felt like I was back in New York! We parked the truck in a secure parking area 5 minutes walk  from our hostel. As we were sleeping here for three nights we had to take everything we needed with us. This was the first time we had to carry our backpacks since the first day of the trip. It was a lot lighter without the sleeping bag. roll matt and tent attatched to it but even so it was pretty damn heavy!  This has confirmed my worry for Vietnam where for 2 weeks we will be travelling around on public transport without the truck, I think me and my backpack will be getting to know one another very well indeed!     

The hostel is nice and clean (perhaps this is in comparison to camping in fields) and Im in a 32 person room with the rest of the group, leaving some of the couples in a seperate private room. We have been here for 2 nights so far, and last night was my first proper full nights sleep since leaving home.

On the first day here I went to the grand bazaar which is a massive indoor market place selling clothes, china plates, food, souveneirs etc. Its really difficult to walk past any of the stalls without getting hassled to buy something. The amusing thing here is that they seem to know how annoying they can be and even make jokes about it. A common one we heard throughout the day was "Let me take your money and give you my rubbish" and once they know that you are English. everything is "lovely jubbly."

The workers here are overly friendly when they want you to buy something but as soon as you say no they turn very rude.
One of the stalls was selling turlish delights and Nikki (the girl that im sharing a tent with) was deciding between buying a kilo or just a few. After about 2 minutes max she asked for about 5 pieces rather than the kilo that the man wanted her to buy and he got really pissed off and started shouting about wasting his time etc.

Earlier  on we had gone for a kebab, when we paid the waiter looked at the money on the plate, muttered "no service" and threw the plate down on the table. At this point I wasnt liking Istanbul very much.

Yesterday i went to Agia Sophia which used to be a church and now the best description would be an indoor cemetary. There are 4 seperate buildings all with green coffins inside which are the families of sultans. The detail of the deco inside is amazing  Il be adding pics as soon as I can.

I also attempted to go to the blue mosque but it was prayer time so no visitors were allowed inside. Yesterday morning was spent in the Iranian embassy from 08:30 til about midday. All the girls had to wear loose trousers and loose long sleeved tops with head scarves and the guys had to wear jeans or trousers wiht long sleeved tops or shirts. The less flesh that was showing, the better. Everone was a bit nervous about going here as wrere under the impression that it would be really strict. Especially one of the girls, Fran, who is American but born In England. She had to stay quiet the entire time we were in there which was extremely difficult for her! I didnt realise how strict the Iranians would be about letting Americans into the country, but apparently if they knew she was American it would be a straight refusal and could possibly mean problems for the rest of us getting in aswell.

The workers at the embassy were very friendly. they offered us tea and chocolates throughout our time there which was quite a shock as until this point we werent sure if we were allowed to talk to eachother. They semed quite laid back though and infact forgot to ask for our finger prints so we all had to do that last night ready for Lu our tour leader to take there this morning.

Our visas have now been issued so everything is set for Iran. now its just the Pakistan one to worry about which will be applying for in ankarra.

Today is day 18 and the first time I have had a day to myself. This is my first feel of really travelling on my own as before we would all go off in groups and it felt abit like a school trip. Right now Im writing this footsteps from the sea, watching the dolphins jump in and out of the water. Iv just been reminded why Im doing this and the memory of me cooking for 40 people for 3 hours whlst camping on a rubbish tip seems far away :)      
Slideshow Report as Spam


Polly on

You? Cooking or 40 people ?!! You'll make Master Chef yet!
The blog says you're online.....I wonder if we can chat?

Polly on

I guess you couldn't see that I was writing to your Blog while you were also online. Nice to know I was sort of connected with you for a couple of minutes there....... will have to try a Facebook chat if it happens again.
Anyway, very glad to hear you got a good night's sleep and finally getting some time to see places. Hmmm, the sales people in Ankara don't sound very pleasant at all - let's hope the people are nicer when you get out of the city. The Iranian embassy sounded fun ! The Iranians are very hospitable people. I hope you'll all have an easy journey through because there'll be so many fascinating things to see there.
Take care, Vi. I'm checking regularly for any entries and loved this latest one. I'll try now and see if I can give you a few more stars rating, but maybe we're only allowed one go.
Lots of love, Polly

mum on

Good to hear you are now seeing some enjoyment from your trip at last.
Having not heard for a while i thought you may have been lost down the plug hole from when you had a chance to shower!
I'm really enjoying your blogs. You must write a book when you get back.
Love you and miss you.
Enjoy yourself and keep safe. Mum xxxx

Uncle Andy on

I envy you the excitement of not knowing what's around the next corner.
Hearing what you say about Turkey, I am still surprised that people go there for a holiday. I'd like to go but in the same capacity as you Vienna - namely a whistle stop on a greater journey. I hope you love Iran, as Polly says, I think they are hospitable (aside from a few anti-Western fanatics).
You haven't mentioned much about the local foods. Are you getting a chance to try them or are you just cooking for yourselves. Also - where's the pics (they paint a thousand words) - looking forward to hearing all about your adventures first han when you get back. Enjoy - enjoy - enjoy.
Love Uncle Andy xxx

viennamichaels on

Hi Andy´.
Most of the time we cook off of the truck because its cheaper but that is only breakfast and dinner so I have had the chance to try foods for lunch and the odd night out for dinner. I had some really nice food in prague. In turkey it is very similar to greek food and a bit of a kebab overload haha
I will definitely be trying the food in the other countries though! Im trying to get my pics on to the internet but <i need to use someones laptop to do so. hopefully I will get round to it soon although alot of them are scenery.
Hope everyone is well, send my love

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