Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Turkey 5 - Constantinople 2

A day to explore by ourselves. Eschewing offers to go with others we decided we would rather move at our own speed and as Tacsim Square is described as the central hub of modern Istanbul, it seemed a good place to start. Having cracked the tram system, we rode to Kabatas and then took the extremely modern funicular to Tacsim. The focal point is the monument to Kemal Attaturk...and you really have to visit Turkey to experience the reverence with which he is held.
We had tea at the most expensive place, paying 10tl instead of the usual 2.50 tl..........I am astonished that tea is the preferred drink rather than coffee, and served without milk in thistle shaped glasses it is quite delicious and refreshing. Turkish coffee is a bit of an acquired taste and actually twice as expensive as tea. We then just wandered. Headed down the main street towards the golden horn, diving off down side streets as the mood took us. This is where east meets west - the main street could be anywhere in Europe(almost) but go 20 yards off and its a different world. And anything that can be traded is sold on the streets with some looking like giant car boot sales .  There's little pressure to buy, generally just a polite invitation to view the wares on offer or to step inside a shop. ... everywhere people just trying to earn a living anyway they can .
Nice lunch close to the Galata tower which we ascended afterwards for a fantastic panoramic view of the city and then meandering through the streets down to and across the golden horn.
I will gloss over the evenings entertainment at the folklore show and dinner. A Dervish can only do so much whirling , the belly dancers probably double up as lap dancers and as John Cleese said ' will someone's shut that bloody bouzouki player up'

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