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Fasten your seatbelts it's going to be a fun ride

Thursday, September 2, 2010

No. No, not one more beautiful tiled harem room please!

If any of you reading this has ever been or even more amazing, ever driven through Istanbul you know the traffic is indescribable but I will try.

Everyone drives bumper to bumper at incredible speeds. Julia got some awesome footage of us crossing the Bosphorous Bridge. You can see me ball my fist in the air with a hearty "right on"!

There are 3 lanes. 
Right, slow, large trucks 50mph-70mph
Middle, for passing the large trucks on uphill. 70mph-100mph and get the hell out of the way fast (back into the slow lane)
Left, FAST, usually cars going 160-200mph. Cars whiz by us like we are standing still when we use the middle lane to pass slow trucks.

Believe me when I say no one dares drive slow in the fast lane here.

They don't bother painting lines because no one pays attention to them.
It's like playing ice hockey riding in this traffic and you are the puck.
The shortest measure of time is between when the light turns green and the car behind you honks.
So it was with some terror that we approached the city one more time.
At night but during the dinner hour.

We cross the Bosphorous bridge, it's like a small Golden Gate and affords the best views of Istanbul and is the most beautiful of bridges.

Back in Istanbul where I had a few days to rest....a lot of sleeping in a very comfortable bed with A/C, soft sheets and pillows!

So the sightseeing was easy this time as last year I was escorted everywhere so I could easily find my way around. Found a new place where there was an Egyptian obelisk. 

And this time based on some advice visited the Hagia Sofia 

Wandered around neighborhoods where I saw shops that each specialized in a different type of item.
Starters and Alternators. (I'm such a gearhead)

Then went to the spice bazaar to get ripped off but found Istanbul Rose oil that is exactly like the primrose oil that was discontinued years ago at the Body Shop that Monica and I were crazy about 

What does $240 dollars look like?

Enough Turkish delight to keep me busy for a while. 

Found a gaggle of Asian tourists taking a break from the noonday sun and heat.

Met up with the cyclists we met in Sinop and had a drink...Cuban rum!

I call this spot hotel and restaurant row.

Then went for dinner at a restaurant recommended by the hotel Doy-Doy with a rooftop terrace overlooking the Blue Mosque. Of course EVERY restaurant has a rooftop terrace here.

Had a "Konya" Pizza that was delicious and cheap.

Today, my last day in Istanbul, we visited the palace that was closed the last time I was here.

At the end of the day I was saying, oh no, not one more gorgeous tiled harem room!!!

Gorgeous windows.

Wow, even the tourist ramps have the % incline. 

That's the Bosphorous bridge I was terrified to ride

This was an awesome felt hat shop.

Went to the Galata tower which affords a spectacular, although cramped view of the city.

Then we had a steep hill to climb to Taksim square so I suggested we stop for refreshment and a big healthy tabby came and snuggled up with me.

Saw a blow up tank art exhibit, kinda weird to see after all the real ones.

As you can imagine the smell walking by these vendors was nauseating.

And this blog wouldn't be complete without showing our lady friend who says Ciao! (in the wee hours of the morning)

And I could not finish my last blog on Turkey without honorable mention of Giacomo's stinky boots! (excellent theft deterrent)

Goodbye Turkey....