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Heading home - Wed 24 Oct

TURKEY | Wednesday, 24 October 2007 | Views [649]

Does time move more quickly while on holidays? İf İ look back to when we first arrived in İstanbul, it does seem to be a while ago, yet the end still seems to have arrived too quickly - something of a paradox.

We have done a lot of travel - by plane, car, train, tram, ferry, bus, foot, balloon and scooter.  The public transport is very good - and inexpensive.  We wanted to go west a couple of days ago - out to the outer walls of Istanbul.  However, the trams were so full we decided to travel east to find a tram that had a bit more space, then swap tracks to travel west.  Worked well!  Yesterday however was more of a comedy of errors.  We went to Sireci where Sue thought the ferry went to the Princes Islands.  We were told by someone to go to Kabatas.  So we dutifully hopped on a tram where we consulted our travel guide which said that there is a ferry from Kabatas, but it is cheaper and quicker to go from Sireci (our starting point).  Annoyed at the person who apparently misadvised us, we swapped trams despite being nearly at Kabatas, and headed back to Sireci, concerned that we would not get to the ferry in time for the 10am departure.  We got there in time (not before Sue had stepped in wet concrete though!) only to find that our book was out of date, and now ALL ferries to Princes Islands go from Kabatas after all!  With silent apologies to our earlier advisor, we quickly jumped on the tram again (fortunately trams are VERY frequent) and headed back to Kabatas arriving at 9:59.  We rushed to the terminal and jumped on the ferry to find that they now depart at 10:15 - maybe to cope with lost travellers.  We then went on a 2 hour cruise to the islands for $2.50!

It was a wonderful day on the Bosporus and Sea of Marmaris.  Our last day in Turkey was raining, but generally we have had fantastic weather.  Turned out to be a great time of year to visit Turkey.  There is some smog around, but generally not too bad.

On the islands we went for a long walk where we were befriended by a man carrying a guitar case, who offered to guide us.  As we walked the lonely road through the pine forest, seemingly in the wrong direction, we wondered what he had in his guitar case.  Turned out to be an axe with which he chopped us both up and hid our bodies in the forest.  We have found many helpful and friendly people in Turkey where we doubted their good motives.  A young man helped us find our way across Ankara to the train station.  Another man tried to help us when we got onto the freeway, trying to tell us it would cost $50 to go the full length.  We thought he was trying to scam us of $50, and it wasn’t until half an hour later it dawned on us how kind he was trying to be!   

There seems to be a balance in life in İstanbul.  It costs about the same to buy a bottle of water as it does to relieve yourself of that water.  So if the water costs $1, the toilets usually do too.

Walking around the Golden Horn (a popular jaunt for us - and many others) the other day, we were minding our own business, watching the hordes of people fishing (the fish sandwiches here are great) when a passing shoe polishing professional dropped his brush and walked on.  I called out to him and he very gratefully came and thanked us, called me a gentleman, and offered to polish our shoes in thanks.  He then demanded money – much more than I thought appropriate.  The next day when a different person walked past and dropped their brush and walked on, we were very amused.  He quickly returned for his brush.

We visited an excellent archeological museum in Istanbul.  I found the writing and documents most interesting, such as an original version of a peace treaty between the Hittites and Egypt – the Kadesh Treaty.  I hope to be able to read more about ancient interest.

The holiday is now over.  It was a memorable holiday, with the highlight being Elke and Tom's wedding. 

Tags: Misadventures


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