Saturday, June 10, 2006

Istanbul

After 20 some hours of flying (from Seattle to Toronto to London to Istanbul) we landed safely at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, Turkey. The visa line was long, but it moved fast and we paid our 40 dollars to the official who didn't even open our passports to check our identity before inserting the sticker visa. We found our baggage and the the man holding a piece of paper that said "Andrew Rick." We were hurried into an airport shuttle bus with four other young travelers and headed off through traffic to Sultanahmet, the "old" city, i.e. tourist destination. Once we reached the city wall, the shuttle weaved at break-neck speed, free of traffic at last, through the tiny streets as children, women, kittens, and men jumped to the sidewalk and out of the way. As soon as we reached our bed, we crashed, exhausted.

The first day was spent in a bit of a daze. Sultanahmet is a haven for backpackers and tourists. Every other building is a hostel/hotel or tourist agency. Before getting down to business, we decided to be tourists ourselves (we were still too out of it to do any visa hunting, anyways, since that would require going out of walking distance of our hostel). US dollars were exchanged for Turkish lira and then we spent far too much for a cup of espresso. (Thank goodness, however, that they have changed the Turkish lira by eliminating the many unnecessary zeroes. By the old system, one US dollar would equal something like 1,500,000 Turkish lira. Now it is simple--one US dollar equals 1.5 Turkish lira.) Next, we wandered around the grounds of the Topkapi Palace, looking up at the gilded domes and blue and white tiles. We paid extra to see the Harem, which was worth it. It seemed to be the most lavishly decorated; it makes sense since it was the actual "home" part. Some pictures from the Topkapi Palace follow below.

3 Comments:

Blogger sherrardtron said...

I am jealous. Thanks for posting the 'blog. I'll be reading.

1:19 AM  
Blogger kolby said...

Lovely! It was great to see you before you left, and great to see you on your adventures. I can live vicariously through your travel blogs... :)

Andy is joining the ranks of the beardos?!?!

7:39 PM  
Blogger Yousef said...

Hi you Wayfarers. I was so happy to get your email and see your blog. Happy to see you are living your dreams. Call me when you are in Seattle area.
Yousef Nourouzee

9:26 PM  

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