Greetings reader old and new, and welcome to another set of ramblings bought to you by Steven while in a foreign land… This time, from Istanbul (no, not Constantinople).
Thanks to a lack of outbound companion voucher flights to Israel and a want to have come and visit for a while, I find myself writing while sat on a rocking chair on the balcony, listening to the call to prayer going on in the background.
This morning at an ungodly hour, I made my way to Heathrow, where I was soon to learn that the baggage carousels “Don’t start work” til 4.30, and the BA Lounge doesn’t open til 5.
Once the bag was dropped and I was fed, we boarded the flight where I promptly tried my best to sleep. Having done so many Transatlantic flights last year, I found this one a little short (It was only about 3.5 hours!)… but then I had made it to Istanbul!
From the airport, I hopped into a taxi and headed to the hotel to dump my bag and have a little nap. Nap didn’t happen as the housekeeping team helped me to put the AC on for me to find out shortly later that it was only blowing hot as the cold is “off for the winter”.
Eventually, nap given up on, I put on some shorts and headed out to the Galata Tower. (Shorts were a MISTAKE, and would soon be replaced with trousers – spot the tourist!)
Galata Tower was opened in 1349 and provides great views over the city of Istanbul and beyond. I’m not entirely convinced the Lifts containing floor to ceiling screens which panned across Istanbul during the ascent were original from 1349, but who am I to judge?
While up the Galata Tower we were looking down on some form of rooftop studio… I wouldn’t be surprised if you see the footage on the Eurovision song contest entry for Tukey this year….
Inside the tower, on the way down was a collection of pots, pans an ornaments from Istanbul over the years, some of which were pretty cool!
The stairs were incredibly tight and I bumped my head a number of times but they made a great aesthetic and seemed more legit than the lifts…
My favourite exhibit in the collection however, was this….
From the Galata Tower, I started to walk down to the Golden Horn and snapped a photo of a street cat, who then turned around to star face on in the second attempt…
I walked down to the Atatürk Bridge and crossedt he Golden Horn, taking far to many photos of the train that stops halfway. (I might do something funky with them later on…)
Once on the other side of the Golden Horn, I wondered the streets a little – it’s very easy to just go for a wander and take in the endless market style shops and stalls and look at all the things you have no reason to buy… and some thing you want anyway!
I stopped for some dinner, before walking to the Basilica Cistern. The Basilica Cistern is the largest of the many underground cisterns in Istanbul for water storage, and dates back to the year 527!
It’s super beautiful so I will let the photos do the talking…
The lighting changes tone every few minutes revealing different aspects of the stone work…
Also, toward the back are two rather strange columns with carvings of Medusa!
I walked back toward the Golden Horn via the very pretty Gülhane Park, and took some photos of the lovely flowers, while locals partook in their Iftar meals in the grass…
My walk took me back past Yeni Cami, one of the lesser known but still incredibly pretty mosques (Dating back to the 17th Century)
I wandered across the Galata Bridge, looking at all the restaurants on the underside of the bridge (while the tram/road goes on top), before snapping this, ft. Moody sky…
Finally, I was lazy and went on the incredibly creatively named “Tunnel”. The second oldest underground train in the world (after the Tube!) with literally just two stops, it bought me nicely up to the hill by my hotel! (More on “Tunnel” to come, I’m sure!)
Right… I’m off to the giant indoor jacuzzi in my room (I’m not sure why it’s there… I didn’t book it.. but I’m embracing it…) and then bed because I’m shattered!