Yesterday was the day I had organised to meet Osman from the Istanbul Photography Meetup. We met at the Ataturk monument in Taksim, chatted over a coffee from Starbucks and then drove across the Bosphorus bridge to Asia. He took me to a pleasant tearoom at the top of one of the Seven Hills upon which Istanbul is built, Excavations have been done for the biggest mosque in Istanbul, near the skyline by the forest of antennas. As it turns out, we didn’t take photographs together; we talked. I introduced him to the game of Conkers (look it up) because there are so many horse chestnut trees around.
After a couple of hours of pleasant chat, he drove me to Uskudar where I caught the Metro under the Bosphorus to Sirkeci (station). I had five minutes to get to a meeting point with Tessa at Eminonu in time to catch a Bosphorus Ferry tour at 1.30. Made it a couple of minutes late (believe it or not, running in sun makes you very sweaty) only to find that the daytime Bosphorus tours had been cancelled because of a yacht race. Booked in for the 6.30 to midnight run!
Spent a lazy couple of hours wandering up though a PACKED spice market to Grand Bazaar and back down to Eminonu for 6.10.
Ferry ride takes 6 hours because it stops at five or six ports on the way. Live music on board kept the locals singing. Stopped at the north end of the Bosphorus for a couple of hours to eat a fish sandwich and trawl slowly through the gift shops.
Pleasant party atmosphere on the boat with singing and dancing until our return at midnight. City still very busy.
Starting to lose track of days.
Had a 12 hour case of Bully Belly next day – not sure if it was from drinking the tap water or something else. Took it easy through Aya Sofia museum and rested up in the hotel at lunchtime 80% good the next day – had to skip the Hammam.
Early flight to Zagreb and on to Dubrovnik made it a good day to get over the gut issues.
Now settled into Villa Flores in the Dubrovnik Old Town. Need to stroll slowly so you don’t see all the old-town attractions too early.
Plenty of people! Much busier than last time I was there (in March 2010), Walked round the harbour at sunrise this morning; spinach burek, chocolate croissant and cherry juice for breakfast. Nice meal out at Lucan Katun restaurant last night. Lamb in honey and lavender, caesar salad, lentil soup, fish consomme, white anchovies on rocket…
Cable car and city walls coming up soon.