A Travellerspoint blog

Istanbul, Turkey - Friday, 12 August 2011

sunny 25 °C

Slept in and had a leisurely breakfast and then took to the streets. We walked to the railway station and bought our tickets for Ankara on Monday.

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Then caught a taxi to the Galata Tower and went up the top. I saw a nice turquoise and marquisitte ring but Phil thought we could get it cheaper at the Grand Bazaar. First mistake! If you see it and like it, buy it - because you'll never be back!! We went to the Grand Bazaar - it is huge - and walked for miles and couldn't see the same ring anywhere.

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Had a chicken wrap and fresh orange juice for lunch and then visited the Blue Mosque. I had to wear a skirt to cover my legs and had to take our shoes off. Seen one mosque - seen them all, but the mosque in Abu Dhabi is stunning and still the best one I have ever seen.

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Next we visited the underground bascilia cisterns. Definitely worth a visit. Huge carp swim in these waters. Took photos of Medusa's head - a statue in the water. It's a nice place to be on a hot day.

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The Turks are very friendly and want to talk. Phil's Turkish is improving. He keeps saying "Merriba effendum" (excuse the spelling) which translates into "Hello Sir", and when they hear that, they are falling over themselves to chat and be friendly.

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We walked miles and miles today and when we came back to the hotel, we decided to have a Turkish Bath in the basement of our hotel - separately. I made Phil go first so he could tell me what it was like and what to do if I decided to have one, because the Turkish Bath girl doesn't speak English and I don't speak Turkish.

He loved it so I decided to have one too. The room was huge and all marble and very warm with basins and taps around the wall and a huge round marble slab (heated) in the centre of the room. Strip off and tie a sarong around you and lie on the marble slab. She throws warm water over you which has a lovely rippling effect, then rubs your body, front and back with a rough glove, then more warm water, then lots of soap and foam, then more water. It took about 40 minutes - she also washed your hair. At the end of it all, she handed me an aluminium basin and left the room. I think this was to wash my "private parts" because after all, this was a bath, not just a tourist attraction. It was so relaxing and our skin was red and glowing from all the rubbing.

We then got dressed for dinner and caught a taxi back to the Galata Tower. The taxi driver was an idiot and couldn't drive properly and took us to the suburb of Galata, not the tower. So we said "the Pera Palace" and we got out and had an argument about the fare but finally agreed on the price. We had a walk around the Pera Palace. The Orient Express guests stay here (from Paris to Istanbul). Absolutely magnificent.

Got another taxi to the Galata Tower and bought the ring and then got dropped off in Taksim Square - millions of people everywhere! We decided it might be easier to find an eating place over on our side. We ordered meat balls that tasted like sawdust and weren't cooked very well. Back to the Lady Diana Hotel and into bed. Phil got up in the night and had a vomit. Not sure why as we ate the same things.

Posted by gaddingabout 18:10 Archived in Turkey

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