we didn’t find any roast turkey in turkey - Istanbul, Turkey - 20 July 2012
If I could only write about one aspect of my time in Turkey, it would be on the friendliness of the people. In all honesty, the Turks are the friendliest I have ever experienced, beating - by a length and a bit - the Cambodians or Thais. Without fail, they will strike up a conversation on the bus or on the street corner if you look lost, or merely unengaged. Whilst in India, or other unnamed asian states, I’ve always had a heightened sense of reservation or apprehension, the need for such a closed facade is dissipated in Turkey - only common sense required.
R (Australia) and I headed back to Istanbul from Gallipoli for the night before our early morning flights. We took the opportunity to stay in the modern area of Istanbul (Taksim Square) as opposed to the Old Town (Sulthanamet). This decision was a good one, and it reversed our previous fortunes of failing to find decent food in Istanbul. Travel tip - getting out of the tourist trap that is Sulthanamet is the key - and even if one wants to visit the sights in Sulthanamet, it is only a short tram ride away.
S (Turkey), who I met in Switzerland earlier in the year, had sent me through a list of ‘to-do’ places in Istanbul off the beaten track. Unfortunately, we couldn’t catch up with S because she was out of Istanbul for the summer, but we did try one of her recommendations - Kafe Ara - run by famed Turkish photographer Ara Guler. A really cool, hip, place with large Guler images on the wall - and great food for next to nothing!
The area east of Taksim Square has a real modern, cosmopolitan European vibe - with funky cafes, and fresh ideas.
After 10 days, and too many hours on the bus, that’s it for this Turkish jaunt. I’m off to Athens today for some more ruins and island hopping!