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I can't believe we are travelling together again

Journal Entry Days 33-35

AUSTRALIA | Friday, 8 May 2009 | Views [391]

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DAY 33

 

Ended up having the best pancakes that a small touristy town in Turkey could possibly scrape together for dinner last night and more of that fantastic apple tea.

 

The weather is still beautiful, sunny and with just a hint of a cool breeze. What more could you want?

 

Our final group meal together was lunch at a 475 year old restaurant which has been in the one family for 5 generations. It was a typical, very traditional Turkish restaurant and we had this really unusual ravioli dish with a yoghurt and tomato sauce.

 

I am however saving the best news til last! We had wine at lunch. It was home made wine by the family who owned the restaurant. Wonderful red wine!! Wine that has not passed my lips for 4 weeks but who’s counting????

 

After our lovely lunch, it was on to the bus for 4 hours of road travel 4-8pm, 2 hours of waiting at the train station til 10pm, 9 hours of sleepless overnight train travel, 30 min of ferry travel and 20 min walking to the hotel before breakfast. Who ever said that holidays are not always fun!!

 

DAY 34

 

Oh yes, this is also when we found out that the travel agent had out the wrong end date of our tour on the paperwork. This meant that our Istanbul accom was booked and paid for the night before we arrived  We thought that we had 2 nights and 2 days in Istanbul but as it turns out we have 1 day and 1 night. We even missed breakfast this morning that we had paid for and as we are leaving at 5.45 am tomorrow, we will miss paid for breakfast then as well

 

I guess things could be worse!

 

We have had a great days walking and exploring Istanbul. The Blue Mosque is not to be missed, the tulips which apparently were big in Turkey way before Holland are spectacular. The grand bazaar is also fantastic (check out the photos)

 

Istanbul is a great city and has everything you could possibly want. It is busy in a good way and it has more of a European feel to it than middle eastern or asian countries we had previously visited. The waterfront is very unusual (see photos) with huge rocks bundled together instead of sand where people perch with their picnic watching the ships go by.

 

There are people selling jewellery and sunglasses as well as people charging people to use air rifles and pistols to shoot cans and balloons off the rocks for fun! (see photos) I personally thought that this was a very bizarre situation.

 

This next comment is for my Aunty Margot. ‘You would go absolutely crazy!’ There are entire streets of market areas totally dedicated to CRAFT STUFF. Ribbons, trim, elastic, cottons, buttons, sequins,etc.. You don’t know where to start ! It’s like the home sewer’s heaven on earth. You could lose yourself for a couple of days and not even realise until you were hungry.

 

Got to go to bed now, it’s a 5am start in the morning and I am already behind in sleep from last night’s train episode.

 

 

DAY 35

 

Well, after catching the 6am shuttle from the hotel to the airport, we are on the plane off to Athens and then the Greek Islands!

 

The plane flight was only an hour or so and went very quickly especially because they served breakfast to amuse us.

 

The local bus from the airport at 3 euro was very tedious due to extremely heavy traffic. The bus actually terminated prior to our destination and we were directed to the train station to continue our journey. This confused the hell out of most of the passengers because we were mostly tourists and unfamiliar with the language and the surroundings.

 

We eventually made our way to the Hotel Zeuss, which is a dodgy hostel in Monastriki.

 

When I booked this hostel, it never occurred to me to check regarding stairs etc. I will next time!

 

We carried our luggage up 4 flights of stairs!!! Don’t even ask why we have lots of luggage?? We just do!

 

Athens was terrific. There is the old, the new, and the very traditional all so close to each other.

 

The Athens flea market is close to the square where there was a band playing  for donations (see photos)

 

One street off the square leads to all the expensive, high class shopping and eateries; another leads to the local crafts; another local touristy cafes; add the odd historical monument or church etc. and you have a place with something for everyone.

 

After much searching we found a travel agent and organised things for our island travels.

 

After a picnic of sorts in our room of bread, ham, strawberries, plus a couple of gin & tonics each, we prepared for another 5am start.

 

 

 

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