Turkey was a stopover rather than a destination as Istanbul gave us better flight options to Asia than a return to Athens would have. By hopping across from Kos to Bodrum it also felt like we were heading in the right direction, plus we got to taste a little of what Turkey has to offer. We have loved our short week here.

A
A “post card shot” of the Blue Mosque, it is always hard to resist taking these but the pictures that give the most satisfaction are the ones you don’t see on the post card stands

Bodrum was really a resort destination although there was a very impressive Crusader Castle that sits between the two bays. The castle (St Peters) was very well preserved and housed an “underwater archaeological museum”. The museum was not underwater but displayed a very extensive range of ancient relics that have been recovered from the sea bed in the area, usually discovered by local sponge divers. These were in remarkable condition given their age and unlike many you see from land digs, they were all largely intact.

The rooftop terrace of our pension was adorned with relicas of roman busts. Made for some interesting photo opportunities
The rooftop terrace of our pension was adorned with replicas of Roman busts. Made for some interesting photo opportunities

We opted to fly from Bodrum to Istanbul, a one hour flight versus a long haul by bus as trains were not an option. One hour sounds great but the reality was different.  A one hour bus trip to Bodrum airport, hanging around the airport for an hour, the one hour flight, the interminable delay between touching down and getting our bags, missing the desired bus connection to the city, then (because we were rescheduled to a later flight), a slow trip into the city during peak hour. One hours flying time translated to 6 hours travel time. Maybe the bus was not such a bad option.

Our airbnb utilises loft space at the top of an apartment building, one bedroom with a very roomy lounge / kitchen and a very spacious deck with views. Very well appointed foir the price (less than half of what we have paid in most other large cities).
Our airbnb utilises loft space at the top of an apartment building, one bedroom with a very roomy lounge / kitchen and a very spacious deck with views. Very well-appointed for the price (less than half of what we have paid in most other large cities).

Selecting accommodation is a balance between budget and location. No point in opting for cheaper options if you have to outlay a lot of money on transport. So we do tend to try for locations that are handy to where we think we will spend most of our time. However, despite all of those good intentions, a lack of knowledge of the places you are going to is a big handicap.

Accommodation reviews can be helpful in this regard, don’t get too hung up about the picky comments (no lift, noisy, bed was uncomfortable) these are usually personal issues to the reviewer, but, look for the “great location” type comments. Using that approach, we have been very happy with the location of our accommodation and Istanbul has been another great find. It is in Beyoglu in the new city but an easy walk to the old city.

We have loved experiencing the diversity of Istanbul.
We have loved experiencing the diversity of Istanbul.
We have enjoyed the tea and have enjoyed watching the delivery services. They weave through the crowds with 4-5 glasses of tea on their trays which hang on a metal frame. The primary target is the local shopkeepers.
We have enjoyed the tea and enjoyed watching the delivery services. They weave through the crowds with 4-5 glasses of tea on their trays which hang on a metal frame. The primary target is the local shopkeepers. This picture really captured  what you can observe by just standing in one place for a while.
There was never a dull moment, the crowds, noise and diversity made just wandering the streets far more fun than visiting the attractions.
There was never a dull moment, the crowds, noise and diversity made just wandering the streets far more fun than visiting the attractions.
A very enthusiastic busker
A very enthusiastic busker

The city itself has been one of the more enjoyable to visit. Apart from the big sites that are still crowded with cruise boat visitors (it was cruise boat chaos each morning down in the harbour) just wandering the streets and markets has been the most enjoyable experience for us. A mix of old and new and east and west, all that we do not come close to be able to experience back home.

Frsh fruit drinks from
Fresh fruit drinks from “Vitamin Shops”, cheese stands, fish, spice and of course many Turkish delight outlets lay await to assault your taste buds.
We have seen more street vendors than in any other city to date. Simit, roasted nuts, corn, mussels have been the most common, shoe shine
We have seen more street vendors than in any other city to date. Simit, roasted nuts, corn, mussels have been the most common, shoe shine “boys” are also still around, some with very elaborate foot stools. While many have a stand such as in the picture, many carry baskets with their offerings. I am sure it is just a taste of things to come as we move further east.

Ruth has been in her own version of heaven in Istanbul and has taken to bartering in such a way that I suspect she is starting to have a serious effect on the Turkish economy (Asia be warned).

The shopkeepers are quick to pounce on you with
The shopkeepers are quick to pounce on you with “a special price just for you”, but most probably regret that line with Ruth who shows her Scottish heritage when the bargaining kicks off.

It started with the various shop keepers hassling us to buy but their offers of a “special price to you” were like red rag to a bull to Ruth, she almost wrestled them to the ground asking “but is this REALLY your best price”. She was almost requesting payment to take the goods off their hands. Now she is assailing any shopkeeper on price regardless of whether or not it has a price label on it. I wander off and take photos.

Several of the rug stores have
Several of the rug stores have “live” window displays to draw you into a “full court press” sales pitch. We did not buy a rug but learned why they are so pricey, this little one will take between 1-2 years to complete.
We stmbled into a clothing wholesale area one morning, the main distribution format was two legs, either humping it on the back or on a trolley. It looked like hard work given the steep gradients of the hills.
We stumbled into a clothing wholesale area one morning, the main distribution format was two legs, either humping it on the back or on a trolley. It looked like hard work given the steep gradients of the hills.

The far east is beckoning so the next update may be from Bangkok.

4 comments

  1. Loved your photos! Some people are born to bargain and Ruth found her perfect place. We just never had the heart to take it too far. We have told friends going to Istanbul to take a spare suitcase for all the purchases. It is a shopping mecca (for Ruth) and a dream place for photography (for Cliff). Glad you enjoyed it!

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    1. I suspect even Ruth’s bargining left a bit to feed the family. We often found lower fixed prices in other parts of town, however everyone seems to have a bit of “fun” along the way. Re the photos, I take the post card shots but get little satisfaction from them. It is the other photos that will help to spark the memories in my dotage.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I just love your stories, and wow Istabbul look like my kind of town, in fact I could move into that shop Ruth was in quite happily! Cliff those latest photos are so good ! Love them X

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    1. Thanks Trudy. Decided to play around with the camera a little more, give me something to focus on when it is Ruth’s turn to do what she wants, which is usually browsing the shops. She usually ventures out on her own but decided she might need a chaperon after an interesting encounter with an older gent in Bodrum.

      Trust you are both well

      Cliff & Ruth

      Like

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