A Travellerspoint blog



rain 5 °C

We're no longer in Iceland, but we were on Friday morning when we stopped to refuel. From the plane we had vistas of a frigid treeless landscape under a slate sky and decided to take Iceland off our bucket list. But then we arrived in Istanbul and got an equally chilly welcome. The sun was shining, it was 27 degrees, the Bosphorus was blue, but our hotel gave us the cold shoulder. It transpired that we had been scammed by a fake website promising nirvana for just $130 a night, (breakfast included), and all we got was a phony confirmation slip and the prospect of 5 nights in a backpacker's hovel. But the hotel's manager and staff were terrific and, despite the fact that they were already overbooked, they found us a lovely room overlooking a cobbled pedestrian street shaded by laden grapevines and lined with restaurants...nirvana!
Here's our view as we try our first Donor kebab - Great!
Istanbul is just bursting with tourists, especially northern Europeans trying to wring the last few rays out of summer while avoiding the turmoil in North Africa and the chaos in neighbouring Greece, but the locals seem genuinely pleased to see us. As we strolled along the Bosphorus this morning the fishermen and the swimmers all waved and smiled - we felt quite at home...
We are staying in the old city of Istanbul, (Constantinople), and will be visiting the ancient monuments of the Topkapi Palace, the Aya Sofya and the Blue Mosque over the next few days. But this is a very modern city - no camel carts or donkeys here - and as we drove in from the airport all we saw was a landscape entirely shrouded in modern apartment buildings housing the 13 million people who call Istanbul home. We may be on the very cusp of Asia but this part of Turkey has both feet firmly planted in the West. Now here's a couple of panoramas to whet your appetite - and ours...

Posted by Hawkson 05:44 Archived in Iceland Comments (9)

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