Saturday, August 22, 2009

Postcard purple skies and mosaic lights

Sam and I arrive in Istanbul at dusk and during our train journey to the Old City the sky turns to a postcard purple background for the numerous Ottoman mosques. We’re speechless as we roll our suitcases down the cobbled streets outside Suthanamet station.

I let Sam and the friendly travellers we met on the train do the navigating while I gasp at the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia – the basilica that became a mosque and is now a museum.

By the time we reach our hotel we are hungry and decide to meet Rita and Mike for dinner after freshening up. It seems to be a lively area, full of hotels, backpackers, bars and restaurants so we wouldn’t have to go far.

Hotel Tria really lives up to the Lonely Planet recommendation, with brand new boutique styled rooms and homely amenities. It's great to arrive to such good value comfort, especially since Sam and I both are not in best of health.

We find a small restaurant serving local delicacies in a side street not far from where we are staying. Mike suggests Turkish beer and we all agree to toast to the occasion. I order a Turkish pancake which turns out to be huge. Even my giant appetite isn’t great enough to finish every last morsel of rich meaty flavour rolled in the fluffy pancake. Sam and Rita’s vegetable dishes also look delicious, with the roasted eggplant and peppers generously drizzled in olive oil.

After dinner we feel extremely lazy and stumble back down to a majlis style bar at a backpackers close to our hotel. There we sit down with a host of other travellers and talk into the early hours of the morning.

One Swedish guy tells us he’s been travelling around Turkey for nine weeks and can’t get himself to leave. He quit his job because of the recession and decided to take a sabbatical until things look up. I guess if you do have the savings it’s not a bad way to deal with the situation.

The mosaic lights all along the street cast a soft, magical light. I want to savour the beauty and decide to go to bed before the crowd gets too drunk and in order to get up early and start exploring the Old City area of Istanbul.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's called (f)unemployment!