This is not a post that comes very natural for me to write, so do not expect very elaborate text or very important pieces of information.
It was a weird visit in Istanbul. One because it was short. Two because it was connected to the New Year (my first NY outside the country). Three because it didn’t have a proper planning done, so imagine my personality trying to adapt. Fourth because it meant spending NY with lots of other people. I would add a fifth, coming to a crowded city, one of the top attractions during this time of year.
The Turkish seemed very disorganized. Their English wasn’t exactly a joy either, if they knew it at all. Better use sign language if in doubt. They try to lure you into their restaurants. I had a difficult time restraining myself from not kicking them for insisting so much when we clearly didn’t want anything. I had the chance to try my almost extinct negotiation skills, in the Great Bazaar. Of all places, yes. They have the advantage, because you don’t see a price tag anywhere. You just start going down from whatever sum they tell you. Managed to drop 10 Turkish lira out of the price of a scarf. Mum broke my record, with 50% off on gold. I think it was the tea that did it. At the beginning of some negotiations they serve you tea.
The city itself has a few important landmarks to tick on your “must visit” list. There were still some that I wanted to see, but this division on two continents is not my friend.
They pray six times a day. I wonder if, at this rate, they still go to work. You can actually find on the internet the exact hours when prayer is scheduled, just so you avoid them, especially when visiting the mosques, because you are not allowed to enter during that time.
On NY we were transferred to another hotel, for dinner. We were given pointy hats, masks and such to wear for the festivities. We had belly dancers and traditional dancers. I think my abdomen looked better than one of the belly dancer’s. :D We had Spanish, Swedish, German, Japanese, Italian and Russian people next to us. We had ice-cream for dessert. If I wasn’t so sick right now, I might have actually said it was a good idea.
Their bagel (“simit”) is worse than ours, their tea is too bitter for my taste, the doner is nothing special and if you ask for kebab they only bring you the meat, not the whole package like here. The only thing I enjoyed eating was baclava, and that I had to restrain from due to personal reasons. So win some, lose some.
Below, some pictures. Sorry for not uploading more, but not really in the mood for sharing.