Talking Turkey

Istanbul Travel Blog

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Entrance to the Blue Mosque

I have to admit I went into Turkey expecting the worst.

 

My sole interaction with Turkish people until this point had been the many dirty, dodgy kebab shops that can be found all over the world. The Turkish endemic in Vienna was particularly bad and the youths there cause a lot of problems.

 

I had an understandably skewed opinon. But that’s just one more reason why I love travelling. You are forced to constantly change your parameters, your opinions, your ideals, and you are continually challenged. Sometimes these challenges are light • like trying a new food, sometimes intermediate • like trying a new activity, or meeting a new person, and sometimes - they shake you to your core • like forcing you to change your ideologies. Turkey did just that. I stand corrected, overwhelmed, inspired and uplifted. Istanbul is a wonderful city.

1597? New Mosque? what the hell is old then??
Rich in an amazing and mulit-layered history that is impressive beyond most other cities I’ve seen.

 

I pretty much got to see everything of note in the city at least once. I revelled in its sights, smells, sounds and souls.

 

Highlights include:

 

-The Blue Mosque • one of the largest mosques in the world, and a wonderful piece of architecture.

 

-Hagia Sofia • originally built as a Christian Cathedral but changed to a Mosque. It’s bloody massive!

 

-Topkapi Palace • The original Sultan palace • complete with Harem rooms, an exquisite Jewellery Collection, a circumcision room! and another room housing amongst other things • the staff of Moses and the arm of John the Baptist! Within the jewellery room is the worlds second largest diamond.

the New Mosque ceiling
It’s story is quite interesting. It was found on a rubbish dump and traded for 3 spoons by the beggar that found it…

 

-Hamams (Turkish baths) • I visited a few of these. I highly recommend Cerembilitas, but would tell you to avoid Cagalogulu. They are quite an experience and the massage in Cerembilitas was fantastic. After an hour in there you literally float out the door.

 

-Galata tower • An ancient Roman tower still standing which gives a great view of the city.

 

-Taxsim • the thumping shopping district which, at night, turns into the biggest party scene I’ve ever witnessed. It was like New Years Eve on acid. What an awesome place!

 

-Dolbramace Palace • I’d rate this as the most impressive palace I’ve seen so far. Totally over the top. The Grand Ball room was completely overwhelming.

 

-Bosphorous River -  a pleasant day touring, culminating in lunch on the Black Sea.

inside the new mosque

 

-Grand Bazaar • get lost in the jungle and find a bargain!

 

-Spice Bazaar • so many awesome smells and tastes

 

-Princess Island • not quite what I expected but a pleasant day in the sun trying to find somewhere nice to swim. In the end, a local I met on the street, invited me into his mansion so that I could swim in his yard and use his shower. He even showed me how to lock the door on my way out (as he was leaving)

 

However for me, the real highlight was the people.

Everyone was so utterly warm and open and friendly. Especially once they found out that I was Australian. People hugged me, invited me in to their houses and just generally were so happy to talk with me. At first I kept expecting a scam but they honestly are genuinely friendly. Such was their honesty that I even had people shout to me if I left some change behind.

 

If the rest of Turkey is anything like Istanbul… I can’t wait to get back…
Nabilah23 says:
I agree!Great blog,i cnt wait 2get back either!
Posted on: Dec 25, 2008
Sunflower300 says:
Fantastic blog (again) Geno. I love your writing. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us.
Posted on: May 10, 2008
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Entrance to the Blue Mosque
Entrance to the Blue Mosque
1597? New Mosque? what the hell is…
1597? New Mosque? what the hell i…
the New Mosque ceiling
the New Mosque ceiling
inside the new mosque
inside the new mosque
Overlooking the new Mosque
Overlooking the new Mosque
Boregi... my favourite new snack..
Boregi... my favourite new snack..
intestine kebab! mmmmm!
intestine kebab! mmmmm!
Turkish pimps start young... and w…
Turkish pimps start young... and …
Typical Ottoman style windows...
Typical Ottoman style windows...
An interesting window
An interesting window
a very colourful restaurant
a very colourful restaurant
the ancient obelish in the hippodr…
the ancient obelish in the hippod…
the other obelisk
the other obelisk
Geno after the hamam (turkish bath…
Geno after the hamam (turkish bat…
Geno and Pete - sultans of swing
Geno and Pete - sultans of swing
on the Bosphoros river..
on the Bosphoros river..
This piece of crap wooden house lo…
This piece of crap wooden house l…
view from Princess Island
view from Princess Island
In the forest at the top of Prince…
In the forest at the top of Princ…
Little Sultan
Little Sultan
In the Blue Mosque
In the Blue Mosque
Wash your feet before going inside…
Wash your feet before going insid…
they have wonderful tulips in Turk…
they have wonderful tulips in Tur…
a busy bee
a busy bee
Tulip in colour...
Tulip in colour...
Cats are every... even in Hagia S…
Cat's are every... even in Hagia …
The Blue Mosque. what a beautiful …
The Blue Mosque. what a beautiful…
mmmm! yummy!
mmmm! yummy!
The Basillica Cistern: An impressi…
The Basillica Cistern: An impress…
an interestingly colourful wall
an interestingly colourful wall
building in turquoise.
building in turquoise.
Drinking from a tombstone. classy!
Drinking from a tombstone. classy!
fake adidas.. can you spot the dif…
fake adidas.. can you spot the di…
colourful bowls
colourful bowls
more colour
more colour
love these lanterns
love these lanterns
sometimes i wish i was a chick jus…
sometimes i wish i was a chick ju…
Hector and his wife trying to deci…
Hector and his wife trying to dec…
Inside the Sultans Harem
Inside the Sultan's Harem
Baklava - Turkish sweets!
Baklava - Turkish sweets!
Spice Bazar... nuts and seeds...
Spice Bazar... nuts and seeds...
Dried fruits
Dried fruits
Spices.
Spices.
Interesting scaffolding
Interesting scaffolding
The aquaduct. i like this pic!
The aquaduct. i like this pic!
gone fishing...look at em all!
gone fishing...look at em all!
I knew i was in trouble.. i never …
I knew i was in trouble.. i never…
mmmmmm... bread heaven...i dove in…
mmmmmm... bread heaven...i dove i…
I discovered a small bakery on the…
I discovered a small bakery on th…
The Galata tower
The Galata tower
View from Galata tower
View from Galata tower
Istanbul. from Galata tower. looki…
Istanbul. from Galata tower. look…
View of Istanbul from the Galata T…
View of Istanbul from the Galata …
from Galata tower looking south we…
from Galata tower looking south w…
Lasers in a Turkish disco
Lasers in a Turkish disco
One of the entrances to Dolbramace…
One of the entrances to Dolbramac…
An impressive Elephant Tusk decora…
An impressive Elephant Tusk decor…
This massive crystal chandelier wa…
This massive crystal chandelier w…
Up on the hill
Up on 'the hill'
hmmm. does anything look out of pl…
hmmm. does anything look out of p…
Turkish tulips
Turkish tulips
lunch on the Black Sea
lunch on the Black Sea
More Black Sea dining
More Black Sea dining
These guys were busy networking
These guys were busy 'networking'
Pepsi - the salt of a new generat…
Pepsi - 'the salt of a new genera…
A genuine Turkish Doner Kebab. no …
A genuine Turkish Doner Kebab. no…
Istanbul Sights & Attractions review
Turkish Baths - The one to go to!
I went to a couple Turkish Baths and rate this one as the best. http://www.cemberlitashamami.com.tr/ It's a beautiful old hamam. Well situated … read entire review
Istanbul
photo by: Memo