Saturday, January 05, 2008

Istanbul, Turkey

First post of 2008. It's been a couple of weeks since the last one so let's make this one a bit different.

This lapse could be explained with an amazing tale of the road complete with quirky natives, arduous travel, strange alcohols and exotic places. It could but it won't.

From Batumi I bussed to Istanbul, crashed awhile and flew to mysterious Brighton for Crimbo with the family. As pleasant as it was for me, Xmas with the folks makes for poor storytelling. Suffice to say I stuffed myself and enjoyed doing naff all in a comfy home then flew back to Istanbul.

Istanbul, f.k.a Constantinople is one of the true gems amongst the many destinations of the Asian traveller. It has the ease and comfort of a European city, enough Oriental character to feel like a stranger in a strange land and many, many awesome sights.

I could harp on about the vast Topkapi palce and its many beautiful, if dubiously attributed treasures. I'll give them some leeway on the claim thqat they have Mahomet's sword but I get suspicious when some stick it purported to be Moses' own sea-parting rod. I could also write about the Mosque that was once the great Byzantine church of Hagia Sofia or the Blue Mosque or the Basilica Cistern or the Grand Bazaar or any of Istanbul's famous sights.

I won't do so because I was distracted. What could make this city's beautiful relics of an amazing past only worth a cursory glance? How could I not be entralled by the Orient's foothold in Europe, the city that warrants so many cliches of East meets West? Simple, I met a girl.

The be precise I met the coolest and cutest girl ever; my niece. My elder sister has kindly produced this welcome addition to my family and I got the joy of meeting her on my travels, Cue several days of being a gaga uncle. Highlights include some fun crawling on the floor, being with her went she went to another continent a couple of months shy of her first birthday and great smugness when my compass and bottle opener keychain was deemed more worthy of being played with and chewed on than her own toys. Istanbul just can't compete.

Anyways, the little bundle of joy has departed this city and so will I. I will try to revert to my blase ways from the cooing idiot I have enjoyed being the past few days. Hopefully the next time I roll around the ground, grinning inanely and making silly faces will be because of the more traditional reason of trying some local method of getting shitfaced.

Off to Cappadoccia,

Next stop, Goreme

Take care,



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