Sunday, April 24, 2005

The 'bul

After the excitement of finishing work, and heading back to London, I packed up my little backpacker backpack again, and went out to Heathrow on Thursday for my flight to Turkey!

The abundance of Aussies on the flight, especially with the silent solidarity walking with each other during the transfer from flight to flight in Rome, was apparent. The excitement, the reverence, the anticipation. It seemed that there really will be every man and his dog in Turkey for the ANZAC services.

I arrived in Istanbul at around 1.30am - every flight was running late - and was met at the airport by the They didn't know what they were doing and none of us knew what was happening. Was very amusing. Although did get old by 2.30am! Arrived at our room at 3am, to the sleeping Nat and Glenys, who had arrived much earlier in the day.

Joined by Cam at breakfast, we headed off to navigate through the streets of Istanbul for the day. Being signed up on a tour has made me amazingly lazy, I have done minimal preparation for this half of the trip, and so guidebook in hand, we found the tram, and were off.

We headed into town, and then to Eminonu and found a ferry across to the Asian side of Istanbul. For a whole 1 lira!! I think Turkey is a great place for me to start my Europe travels, with the merge of Asia and Europe right here. We wondered the little streets in Haram in Asia Minor, and not discovering all that much, we found another ferry back.

Jumping off the ferry, with the intention of walking across the bridge to see the third side of Istanbul, we get sidetracked by a cute and comfy pace for lunch, quite a few beers, and an apple flavoured water pipe.

Our 5 day tour for Gallipoli actually started this morning, with a full day of city sights. We visited the Hippodrome and the beautiful Blue Mosque. Then wondered through the Topkapi Palace and the stunning Hagia Sophia Museum. The amazing mosaics in the Sophia were incredible. (more photos)

The Blue Mosque
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Mosaic in Hagia Sophia
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Missing a sleeping bag for the night on Anzac Cove, and discovering that I wasn't the only one, we talked to our guide, Erol, who thought he could sort us out. During a break he lead us up many steep streets, until we arrived at a blank building with a black door. A phone call later had the door opened, and we were taken upstairs to a room full of various army supplies! I am sure it was the Turkish Mafia. Goods were displayed, price was agreed, and now I am the owner of a lovely green army camoflaged sleeping bag!! Will be needed!!

This evening we have had a cruise of the Bosphorous river, and enjoyed a yummy and authentic donor kabab for dinner. Ready to sleep off the last couple of days (and today's hangover) ready for our massive day tomorrow...

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