A Travellerspoint blog

August 2010



Was woken up in Istanbul by the sound of the call to prayer, just like all the guide books say you will be. This is a sound I've become quite used to and even welcome. Dave and I were chatting about it and were both saying how much we like it because it's a reminder of how other people are doing the same thing at the same time and thinking about something other than the day-to-day. Dave has a super cool recording on his sound recorder at the intersection of three big mosques - it's genuinely very moving

We had a super touristy day this day. Blue Mosque (apparently you're not supposed to say "shits all over churches" in such places dave tells me). Aya Soia. An atmospheric, cavernous, ambient underground water storage cistern with low lights and artwork between the columns. And then to a proper turkish bath which started out looking like a spa or something in centre parks and then the main bath was like something from the movies - twenty topless women lounging on a central raised platform while burly surly old women scrubbed people lying round the edge of the platform with bubbles. A baffling yet liberating experience and i've never felt so clean...although i think some of the dirt may have been bullied off!

We timed it to catch the sunset on the bridge and took photos from every angle for every change in shade :) Then a drink in a street that had a dozen bars each playing loud live local music while people stood to dance when the mood took them - often only one person at a table at a time. People-watching central.

Was an action packed day!!

I have sadness to report...the loss, presumed found by a child (i hope), of Monkey. Vans gave me a little monkey to take away and he was happy swinging attached to my bag. We detached him to take a comedy photo sitting on the steps of the Blue Mosque next to a "do not sit here" sign...as everyone else was ignoring it. But at some point between there and aya sophia he escaped.

I am VERY sad about this :( Dave is going to look into a way you can perhaps send a brother or sister of his to a PO box in say, Damascus, if you'd be willing?? Lose 5 points :(

Nothing else to report from Istanbul other than seeing a LOT of cats, and arm punching grafitti (photos to follow)

We're in Cappadocia now on a balcony after a hard days sightseeing

Posted by rachndave 10:16 Archived in Turkey Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

What *was* I worried about??


The last few weeks have been a total blur. I've was workıng rıght untıl the day before I left and so focussed on my to-do lıst that I dıdnt really have tıme to thınk about the future. Only ın a practıcal and not always optımıstıc sense whıle tryıng to antıcıpate what mıght be essentıal or useful to take wıth me. I'd almost forgotten that I was goıng anywhere and why. Although ın a way the busyness and constant plannıng helped me not to worry too much because there was no space for worry ın my head, other than ın a quıte abstract way.

Untıl I got on the plane when everythıng seemed to rush ın. Thoughts of the bıg parts of my lıfe that were endıng as a result of takıng such a long break, thıngs I wısh I had left ın a better state of affaırs, and a sudden realısatıon that I had no ıdea about what the future held for the fırst tıme ın a long tıme. But mostly the fırst reason. I sat ın my seat, looked out of the wındow at the top of the clouds and crıed for an hour.

But what was done was done and ı started to remember the reasons why I had always wanted to make a trıp lıke thıs. So I ordered a Gın and Tonıc and a sandwıch wıth my last ten pounds, took some deep breaths and started up a conversatıon wıth the young newly marrıed couple besıde me.

When we landed I was feelıng much more posıtıve when the pılot made the announcement that to enter Turkey all we needed to do was hand the nıce man at the vısa desk ten crısp englısh pounds. The ten pounds I had just spent :) But armed wıth a new sprıng ın my step I followed the crowds

Of course ıt worked out! ın fact they werent acceptıng pounds anyway and I even traded a dıstressed gırl some euros for the tenner she had.

To cut a long (ıf personally vıctorıous) story short* I met Dave for the fırst tıme ın weeks on the benches outsıde the blue mosque ın Istanbul. A beautıful and calm spot despıte the tourıst crowds. 5 poınts for me

Dave led me through cobbled streets full of cafes and hostels to our nearby hostel whıch was also a bar sellıng Hubbly Bubblıes and most ımportantly cold beer. We sat and met our dorm mates who were 5 chatty and laughıng Brazıllıans on a 'last bıg trıp before we're too old' european tour. We sat on the low colourful cusshıons and compared storıes and cultural dıfferences/sımılarıtıes and all I could thınk was 'what *was* ı ever worrıed about and raısed a mental glass to 'planned uncertaınty'

PS. went to bed at 6am

+1 helpıng gırl wıth vısa money
+1 trustıng ınstıncts to avoıd possıble theft
+5 fındıng dave
total = 7

+2 fındıng cool hostel at 3am

  • ınvolvıng total lack of guıde book preapratıon or language or map. Only a tram statıon name and a vague meetıng poınt. Bus journey, tube and tram, lack of workıng mobıle phone, bafflıng tram token machınes, fendıng off probable theıves and general dırectıonal uncertaınty and fındıng a workıng sım ın my emergency supply

Posted by rachndave 05:33 Archived in Turkey Tagged air_travel Comments (3)

A two way postcard

Oo, the pressure of the first entry...I've started and deleted so many first paragraphs. i actually wrote the entire first entry two nights ago on a fellow traveller's laptop in the hostel but the connection died just as i submitted it and i lost it all and didn't have the energy to write it again. It was much better than this version is going to be!

I suppose a few words about what this blog is about will help set the tone. It was Tim's idea really (hi tim!). When I was saying I wouldnt really know what to put in a blog he suggested describing how we had won and lost 'adventure points' as we make our way round. This idea of points comes from 'festival points' whereapon friends can award friends points for doing something /impressive/amusing/kind/resourceful/helpful in a festival context. For example helping someone put up a tent, or fashining a cupholder out of a glowstick. Similarly points can be docked for doing something daft/lame. So Tim suggested that we might describe how each of us had won or lost points as we go.

Dave has been an absolute star this past few months while I've been working and so I am awarding him a 50 point head start. I'm going to enjoy working hard to catch him up :)

The other thing I should say is that neither of us are trying to get away from it all, we just wanted to go and look at some cool things. So we would love it if you send us pictures or tell us about wat you're up to - a two way postcard if you like.

Um, i'm sure i said more things the first time but i don't remember now, so i'll just copy this to a text file first, and then hit send!

Love to you all
Rachel and Dave

Posted by rachndave 05:13 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged preparation Comments (4)

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