Thursday, November 06, 2008

Turkey: Day 2

Our second day in Istanbul started slowly because Kent was a little hung over. I wish I could have slept later but I reasonably well-rested and ready to see a bit more of the city. I hadn't realized how enormous it was--geographically or population-wise (16 million people!).

We partook of the decent included breakfast (bread, feta cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, salami, olives, tea and instant coffee) and got a leisurely start on the day. (It should be noted that we didn't see Tom until the evening. He'd stayed up late and slept late.)

We decided to walk to the NZ consulate so Kent could find out about voting. It was a very scenic walk--we chose a path along the water. It would have been lovely but for the extremely aggressive drivers. After walking quite a ways, we got to a main bridge (but not the bridge over the Bosphorus) that connects the two European parts of Istanbul.  We'd been looking for a ferry but they didn't run to where we were going. We decided we'd keep walking instead of taking the tram. At the bridge, next to the ferry piers, with tons of people milling around, we each got an excellent fish sandwich for 4 lire (about $3).

After our snack, we walked across the bridge and Kent espied an interesting looking tower (I can't remember its name but a tower of some sort has been on this spot for about 1,500 years, though this one is not that old). We climbed a steep hill to get to it and then paid the silly high entrance fee to go to the top. The tower wasn't very tall but because of its strategic placement, we had an excellent view of the city. We saw the falling apart roofs and innumerable satellite dishes of the nearby houses, the cruise ships docked in the bay, the bridges, the little islands and more.

We continued on our way to the consulate, taking in more mosques, well-fed street cats and very lazy dogs. One dog was so lazy that it didn't bother to eat the piece of bologna someone left right by its head. Maybe it was sick.

We were pretty sure, based on our past experiences, that the consulate would be closed--but no! The office was open, but you couldn't vote there--you had to be at the embassy in Ankara for that or download and mail the appropriate forms. Oh well.

Dusk was falling but we stopped for coffee before heading back to the hostel. We caught the tram back and we were dropped only five minutes from home. We met up with Tom again and had a bite to eat. Tom wanted to go out to a club but Kent and I were too busy plotting our travel plans for the next day so we passed. I was asleep by 1am--plenty late by my lights.

Grateful for: a good look at Istanbul.

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