Where are you from?
17.07.2012 - 18.07.2012 30 °C
AI had a horror night in Bangkok, apparently the purpose of coming to Bangkok and the Khao San Rd area is to get obliterated by alcohol. I needed some sleep after my extremely long day and early start and so i went to bed only to be woken up by drunk english girls at 3 in the morning who have no concept of volume control or respect that they are in a share dorm. and then of course i struggled to get back to sleep, so total sleep was about 4/5 hours. I ended up getting up early and going for another stroll around the area. The street looks a lot different at 6:30 in the morning- all the thai people are at work cleaning up after the westerners!
The wait at the airport was dull and long and luck was not on my side as we had a 4 hour delay due to technical difficulties, so I was exhausted by the time I got on the plane. After10 hours on the plane I arrived in Istanbul. My very first Turkish person I had to talk to at the airport was rude and horrible so I was worried where I had just come to. But I made it in the city via the metro and to my hostel with no problem and some people trying to help me along the way. I was so glad to arrive at my hostel, even though the room has no windows, I was thrilled to be able to have a shower! It is comforting to know I don't have to hop back on a plane for a few more weeks.
I am staying in the Sultanahmet area of Istanbul, in the shadow of the Blue Mosque and overlooking the water. All the buildings in this area have big rooftop terraces overlooking the view and mine was no exception. I went up to see the view which was beautiful and met 3..... australian girls. Aussies are everywhere. Had a nice chat before proceeding to get some very late dinner. The area is full of restaurants with street hawkers who just want to ask where you are from. I think it will take me a bit of time to adjust and be comfortable with this by myself. I had a lovely little meal sitting out over the street, watching all the tourists and locals go past, but by midnight I was beyond exhausted. I had been up for 22 hours (minus the crappy sleep on the plane)
I woke up feeling much better and ready to see Istanbul. It is absolutely beautiful weather here, perfect for walking around exploring. I started with breakfast on the rooftop balcony overlooking the water which was gorgeous. My first major tourist stop was the blue mosque.
I had to put on a cloth skirt and cover my shoulders to go in. It is absolutely stunning in the mosque. Blue tiles cover the domes and walls. As it is still a functioning mosque, Tourists are only allowed in the back half. Quite nice still seeing it in use. I wished there was no one in there so I could just lay down on the carpet and stare at the roof, but no it was swarming with tour groups. After the blue mosque i crossed the park and went Hagia Sohpia.
I was quite excited when I got in as I had seen this on Amazing race just a few weeks ago (haha so silly!) Although not in perfect condition, the dome was covered in vibrant yellow patterns and the huge arabic disks hung off the walls, But I think my favourite thing was all the chandeliers hanging from the ceiling above everyones heads. Very magical.
Next was the Yerebatan Sarnici which was the public cistern for istanbul throughout the Ottoman empire. It is a field of columns underground with water around it, and fish in the water! The roof was a field of brick domes. Hard to believe this has been there for centuries and still waterproof. The columns were a complete mix, some doric, some ionic, even two with medusa heads.
After these I decided it was time to brave the grand bazaar which apparently has 5500 stalls. It was an absolutely beautiful maze of shops selling jewellry, bags, carpets, scarfs, plates, clothes, shoes and so much more. I in typical fashion didn't buy a thing. I can't afford the weight of all this stuff and was happy browsing. The shop owners, who are all men from what I can see,, generally hang out in the aisles and try and talk to you. I cannot count the number of times I have been asked where am I from? I knowmost of them are just being friendly and perhaps I'll need time to relax still but I tend to just say Australia and keep walking.
I then made my way down to the Spice market which although not huge was amazing. Wish I had a nose to smell it all. There was sweets of turkish delight, baklava, stuffed and dried fruits, teas of all types and then all different spices on display. There was so much colour and activity going on. Way more interesting than shopping back home. But now I am exhausted again so am back on my rooftop writing this. I think it's going to take a little while to get use to all the walking again!