Friday, July 18, 2008


James Bond has been there, Mozart has written an opera about it and now I have also been there. The Topkapi palace. If I remember it right it was until around 1930 that a sultan lived in that palace with all his servants, a harem and incredible treasures. And this place is big!!!

One of the three gardens each as big as maybe 10 football fields, maybe more

That's inside the harem which is an incredibly rich decorated place although now there is no furniture or carpets or anything. I guess it must have been completely stunning place.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


The third day in Istanbul I was very tired from all the sightseeing. I thought I have to see as many things s possible in minimum time and was just running around the city without any breaks until I just couldn't take any more.
So I went to a Hamam - a Turkish bath and that was really nice! In the beginning I felt a bit lost because I didn't know how it works there but they kind of take you on the hand and show you (these tourists really don't know anything...)

This is the main room in the Hamam. Really nic
e, everything is made of marble.

And that's the best part - it starts with some kind of peeling and then washing and massage at the end. All performed by a fat sweating Turk. Sweat :-)

And that's how they dress you up at the end. Almost looks like a bedouin

fresh again after the Hamam

after the Hamam visit I was fresh again for more Bazaars and sights. Some cats found a cozy place on the pillows of that store.

Later that night I saw a swirling dervish in a Cafe. This dance is a way for them to come close to god. I can imagine that you feel a bit out of this world after swirling for 15 minutes.

This is Aya Sophia again this time at night on the way back to the hotel

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Rain is falling on my head

The second day I didn't believe my eyes. It was raining cats and dogs! I thought it would never rain in that part of the world (at least not in summer) but I was completely wrong.

The whole day I thought it would just be a short shower until it got night and I was cold and very wet. At that point I realized that it wasn't just a short shower but a rainy day in Istanbul.

Anyway I managed to see the Blue Mosque (there are many smaller mosques that are much nicer!)

and Aya Sofia which is also a bit overrated. Though it's interesting to have a former church and a mosque in one building.

I almost forgot to mention, I also visited Instanbul's Grand Bazaar which has not so much of an Bazaar as I would imagine it. It's a big souvenier market. Of course you can find some nice things but it feels very un-authentic!

The night life in Istanbul is completely crazy! The streets are stuffed with people, everywhere are bars, restaurants, discos. Every day of the week.

Now that I read that post again I feel there's a bit of a neative vibe. That's how strong rain can influence your mood (no wonder when you're wet and cold).

Monday, July 14, 2008

Turkey, Istanbul

Finally it's holiday and I take the plane to Istanbul/Turkey.
The flight via Paris went very well - was the softest touch down of a plane I ever experienced. Air France becomes more and more my favorite airline. The food they serve is just unbeatable!
Arrived at Istanbul around 00:00 and thought it's better to spend the night at the airport. That was not the best night I had in Turkey (but maybe also not the worst).

The first day I was lucky to meet two Turkish guys from Sweden and a Turkish guy who lived in Germany and works for an Austrian company. That was really a good start for the trip. They showed me (and the two Swedish guys) a bit around and told me what to look out for etc. Felt very nice!

But now some pictures of the first day:

On the boat tour I met the guys. Here the Bosporus bridge that connects the European and Asian part of Istanbul

Of course we had to take a picture of the Swedish guys in front of the Swedish consulate.