And Istanbul nights
01.04.2007 12 °C
Well after the farm in Italy I hopped over to Roma, planning to get to Milano for my flight the next day. It turns out all the trains were booked, so I got a ticket for the next morning at 7:30. Because of daylight savings time, I accidentally woke up not at 6, but 7... ran to the station and arrived in time to watch the doors of my train shut. I went and knocked on them anxiously, but no one would open them up... I stood helpless for a good two minutes before the train finally departed. So I got the next one, and cut it really close... I was convinced that I'd miss my flight. The stress of travel.
Anyways, I arrived in Istanbul and made it to my hostel... Bahaus. It's fantastic, a chilled out atmosphere, great lounge area. Very easy to meet people. Istanbul... I am really impressed. The middle eastern influence is apparent, but it is far more developed than Morocco, which surprised me. It is a liberal city, with loads of bars and clubs and a nice alternative scene. The shopping is cheap, the carpets are plenty, and the food is incredible. There is the old bazaar and spice bazaar, both full-on closed markets, selling all the silver, gold, scarves, belly-dancing costumes, rugs, spices, oils. Yet just across a bridge is taksim, which is completely modern and European style.
I've explored the city and done a lot of window shopping, visited numerous mosques, one in which we were actually allowed to witness the men's prayer (!!). I saw a whirling dervish performance, tasted turkish delight, and smoked shishah, had too many glasses of tea to count.
I am happy to once again bear witness to the eerie sound of the prayer call... yesterday we went out to some clubs and came home to the sound of the morning prayer (5:30). I leaned out the window for a brief moment to catch the dark inertia of Istanbul, pre-sunrise. Magical.