Young Turks

Young Turks

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And old ones. Here in Istanbul. And, lots of tourists too. Of which I am one.

Arrival

Was on Saturday. Technically Sunday when I disembarked the plane. A detail which I failed to account for when booking my airport taxi on booking.com. The fact is they selected my arrival time based on my flight number. They got it wrong. This isn’t money I will be seeing again.

The taxi I haled outside the airport turned out to be cheaper. Just goes to show.

LHR terminal 5
LHR terminal 5
Istanbul airport
Istanbul airport

I like these airports. All very modern. You can now take the ‘Elizabeth Line’ which will take you direct from Paddington to any LHR (London Heathrow) terminal.

After the taxi shenanigans, it did mean I arrived at the hotel later than I envisaged. I was tired. Carrying my bike in my bag in addition to all my luggage first to the bus stop in Kidlington, then to and around the underground in London, then around the airport in London, then again when I got off the plane in Turkey.

Pretty tiring. I was tired.

Acclimatisation, R&R

Was what I did yesterday.

Had a little look round on my bike. I’m close to Sultanahmet, the historical centre of Istanbul. I really didn’t feel like doing a lot. Certainly no activities.

Assembling the bike takes about 30 minutes.

Me and my bike bag

It’s a great way to get around any city. If you don’t mind the hills. I just wanted to look around and some of the hotels in areas that I decided not to book. Out of curiosity, to see what I was missing.

Bosporus from Karakoy Harbour
Bosporus from Karakoy Harbour

I like it here. It’s about 500m from the bazaar. There are many clothing and accessory shops here selling knock off goods to foreign venture capitalists. And locals alike. It’s knock off central.

The hotel is pleasant. The roads are quite. Breakfast is free as are the steam room and sauna. The hotel was reduced by around 40% in price through booking.com genius discount. The room is nice and big, big enough to assemble the bike in without any problems.

Weather

Has definitely improved since I got here. It’s gone from cold and raining to sunny and warm.

Great news!

Yeni mosque
Yeni mosque

Bosporus, Hamam, Bazaar

Although not in that order…

After a decent night’s sleep, felt a bit more energetic! The sun was shining, the weather was warm. There was a couple of things I needed before I depart on my travails on velo. Nothing serious, just stuff I didn’t bother to bring over.

Took a walk over to the Bazaar with a vague shopping list in mind.

So little pressure, so much time, the ideal way to just kick back and relax for a couple of hours immersed in the sights and smells until eventually I got the the items I needed.

Bosporus river cruise

As I was walking down toward the river area to get some food, I got kamakied (Greek – street sales person) into a river cruise.

Due to my blood sugar induced lack of enthusiasm, my negotiating tack seemed to work a treat and I beat the tout down to the pretty reasonable price of £2.50! That was for an hour’s cruise.

Here’s some pictures.

Suleymaniye Mosque
Suleymaniye Mosque
Istanbul from the Bosporus
Istanbul from the Bosporus

That felt pretty worthwhile. Especially after seeing some small porpoises surface whilst we were out in the channel.

When I got back to dry land, it was time to get the food I was after originally, a fresh fish baguette, again at a discounted price! I sat and relaxed on some dwarf sized garden furniture provided by the café.

Took this picture of a cat. He was relaxing also.

Cat sleeps in box
Cat sleeps in box

Looks happy in his box! Non?

Hamam

Walked back to the hotel and had a little nap for a couple of hours. I also wanted to research a good Hamam to go to for the afternoon. A Hamam is a Turkish bath where they will wash you and scrub you in intense heat.

There seemed to be few within walking distance. After a quick check, I just went to the nearest. The reviews were good. It seemed the same as any of the others.

It’s been 25 years since I’ve been to a Turkish Hamam. I do remember them being cheaper and more brutal. Maybe one of the perks of beating up foreigners in the guise of doing them some sort of service has gone now, and the prices have shot up. Who can tell?

What I can tell you is the Hamam cost me £43 for approx 2hrs.

That is pretty shocking.

Last time I was here, same thing, slightly better and longer rub, about £8.

Once I get out into Turkey proper, the prices may drop down to a ‘normal’ level. I can’t imagine you’re going to get any Turkish people in there at that price.

No doubt there will be more about that later, after a few long days cycling, there’s nothing like sitting in the steam room or sauna, but when it’s £43, you will be thinking twice.

That’s the first time I’ve felt like I’ve been fleeced since I got here. Still, there we are, it is still a unique and absorbing experience.

More next time.

2 thoughts on “Young Turks

  1. Oh my, that sounds pretty amazing. Warm and sunny that’s a novelty for you and sooo conducive to relaxing I can hear the enjoyment. Exciting times ahead. Weathers today – no rain or sun a little chilly. Soo enjoy every momentx

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