Sunday, 15 May 2011


21 April.
The flight to Istanbul was fine, I slept through most of it though! My first impression of Istanbul was that it is quite a beautiful city, with tulips blooming everywhere (Did you know that, according to our tour guide and a quick wikipedia search, the name tulip comes from Ottoman Turkey, and it is the national flower of Turkey?). That night I had kebab and baklava for dinner with my 2 roommates. After dinner we had a welcome drinks and our tour guide Yalcin (pronounced Yal-chin) gave a brief overview of the itinerary. It was then time for a belly dancing competition - I wasn't chosen to compete thank goodness, I did enough belly dancing in Egypt!

22 April
View of the Bosphorus, and either a very uncomfortable or
very relaxed puppy
Today was a tour of Istanbul. First we went to Topkapi Palace, were we managed to lose Cath (one of my roomies). Yalcin didn't seem to be too worried by this, so we continued on to the Blue Mosque, but were not able to go inside as it was prayer time. Next we walked to the Hippodrome, which was an ancient sport centre and political area of the old city. After a tour of the Hagia Sophia, which had beautifully mosaicked walls, we finally found Cath again.

Topkapi Palace - Our hotel, Topkapi Hotel WAS NOT as nice as this.
Wish it was though!

Outside Hagia Sophia

Beautiful mosaic - you can see people have taken the lower ones as souvenirs over time 

Glad we found Cath

Bridge between Asia and Europe
After lunch we went on a 2 hour cruise along the Bosphorus, the strait that divides Asia and Europe. It was very winding and freezing on the top deck, so spent most of the time sitting inside, but we still had a good view and a relaxing time :)

 That night we had a Dinner and show, which was really nice. The show was quite interesting, with some traditional music and dancing, including 3 belly dancing acts. While the boys were practically drooling over the scantily dressed women, I do think there was a bit too much belly dancing... After the belly dancing there was a bit of a sing-a-long and then the night was finally over, and we had to go to bed, ready for a early morning drive to Gallipoli the next day (well same day, technically :P).

The girls weren't as impressed by her 'dancing' as the guys :P

Got sick of fake boobs/hair/tan/etc, so got out my camera !