Saturday, January 01, 2000


April 14 - Apr 27

We arrived in Anakara (via Istanbul) from Cairo early on the 14th. After two days in Ankara, we headed west for Izmir and spent a few days there before moving on for an extended visit to Istanbul. We left by train for Athens.

Day by day:

  • Fri Apr 14 - land in istanbul early, clear passport control and change to domestic terminal, hang about a bit before boarding flight around 08:30 for 09:00 launch, arrive in ankara about 10:00, clear customs and grab a taxi into town, have a nap until 15:00 or so, jason relaxes at hotel while mike has a walk around, meet back at hotel and head out for pide dinner at restaurant below the hotel, return to hotel, fall asleep early
  • Sat Apr 15 - up around 07:00, mike out for a run in local park, return to hotel for turkish breakfast, shower, out to drop off laundry, to cargo handler to mail packages, walk down to shopping area to find bookstores, spend a few hours on the internet in an upstairs cafe overlooking a pedestrian road, taxi over to museum of anatolia civilizations, have a walk around old town (citadel) district and eat an early dinner in a restored ottoman mansion with views over the city, walk back to hotel, jason deals with photos while mike reads, to bed around 22:30
  • Sun Apr 16 - up around 07:30, mike out for a run, back to hotel, mike takes breakfast than has a shower while jason fusses with photo mosaic program, pack and check out of hotel, grab laundry, back to hotel to repack, walk over and get a minibus to the main bus station, buy tickets at 13:00 for a 14:30 to izmir, wait it out in the bus station reading and having a snack, one tea stop along the way, arrive in izmir bus station and have iskender kepab dinner, taxi into town and check into imperial hotel, sleep
  • Mon Apr 17 - up around 07:30, mike out for run in nice local park complete with track and workout area, back to hotel to shower, out for breakfast at corner kebab and confectionary place, buy bus tickets to selchuk near the train station, catch free mini bus to bus station, jump on connecting bus just as it is leaving, arrive in selchuk around noon, walk to site of ephesus (efes) and spend maybe two hours looking around, walk back to bus station and wait for a bit before catching a ride back to izmir, mini dolmus back to hotel, relax for a bit - mike finds the internet, walk to the fancy part of town in search of a rough guide pick that is not to be found, settle for waterfront dinner at a nice sports bar type of place, enjoy our first turkish beers, march back to hotel for sleep
  • Tue Apr 18 - up around 08:30, decide to have a lazy day in town, soup and bread breakfast at nearby cafe, back to hotel quickly to get ready, walk town to city bazaar and look around, up the hill to ruined fort, talk to a kid and an old man and take some pictures, stop to drink beer/tea and work on various books and projects, walk back down and stop for pide dinner in the bazaar, back to hotel, jason stays in while mike goes out looking for cinema, he doesn't find it - settles for an evening sit in the park before returning, read a bit and early to bed
  • Wed Apr 19 - up around 07:30, pack and check out by 8, minibus to bus station, drop big bags at left luggage, jump a bus out to village near ancient sardis, walk a bit to reach the two sites and have a look around, stop in village to have a nice lunch, catch bus back to izmir from main road, arrive around 14:30, collect bags and head out again by bus to istanbul after a bathroom and internet break, a couple of stops along the way for tea and dinner and such, arrive in istanbul around 00:30, taxi into old part of town, walk around a bit finding a hostel, eventually settle into a twin room and crash
  • Thu Apr 20 - up around 08:00, breakfast in hostel, pack up and check out, stop by bookstore to get an istanbul guide, sit at closed outdoor cafe for a bit looking for a place to stay, try out a few options before settling on another hostel, check in there and retrieve bags, do a bit of research on apple repair places, head out to taksim square and beyond to drop off jason's laptop for a fixin', nice lunch near apple center, taxi back to taksim square than a bus back to near the hostel, relax and read and surf (free wifi) for a few hours, have dinner at a very nice restaurant with open fire, retire after the meal to bed
  • Fri Apr 21 - up around 08:30 and have the usual turkish breakfast at hostel, head out again to taksim by bus than taxi to retrieve jason's laptop, metro back to taksim, walk down iskadil (sp?) cad. to look at the shops, walk for miles down an unpleasant busy street to have tea at the pera palas hotel, walk down to water looking for a bus back, end up hiring a guy to get us across the golden horn in his little boat, walk through a bit of the bazaar area on the way back to the hostel, relax for a bit, bus back down to taksim square, walk along iskadil (sp?) looking for a place to eat when encounter a pair of "friendly" locals - one that speaks pretty good english, we join then for a barbecue dinner then they take us to a bar with scammingly high prices, we bail, go for a beer or two at a cafe that features turkish music, try to find a particular club but fail, get denied at the roxy, take a taxi over to babylon, hang there for a bit with a disappointingly young crowd dancing to disco, split by taxi back to the hostel, in bed for around 04:00
  • Sat Apr 22 - up around 10:00, mike grabs a quick breakfast in the hostel, check out the blue mosque and the aya sophia, have chicken kebap lunch at corner cafe run by very garulous man, he recommends a joint for watching the galatasaray vs. fenerbache derby that evening, relax in the grass for a bit, down to view giant cistern, walk up to palace but decide not to go in, back to hostel to chill for a bit, mike out to travel agent to try to get train tickets but no luck - will have to go back monday then down to barber for a hair cut, walk down to cafe to watch the footie, have a mezze platter before the match but forced to abandon it in order to save marginally reserved seats, game is a 4 to zero blowout but fun, hang around cafe and have supper, back to hotel to change clothes, grab a taxi downtown, mike gets scammed by the old "you gave me a 5, not a fifty" trick and (on top of that) is overcharged, arrive at drum and bass clus show at balans and watch ronnie side do an uninspiring set, leave around 02:30 by taxi and arrive back at hostel for maybe 03:00
  • Sun Apr 23 - up around 12:30, kofte lunch in busy local joint, over to hamam for a bath and viscious massage, stop for tea and orange juice after, stop at sweet shop for some turkish delight and a bit of cakey thing, back to hotel to read and blog and surf, eat supper in a turkish place near the hostel, have a few beers and a desultory dance with the other backpackers gathered around the various hostels and honkey bars, retire at about 15:00
  • Mon Apr 24 - up around 11:00, breakfast at patisserie where weird joke-telling kurdish guy works, drop off laundry, out to travel agent to get train tickets, they now claim that they can not handle international ticketing so walk to train station, get tickets with incident, return to hotel, head out for a lonely planet walk west of sultanahmet, skirt the edge of the bazaar area and eventually find a cab, view a big mosque, walk down busy road and stop for an ice cream, take a look at old city walls where the city suddenly seems to stop, over to 4th century church, fancy dinner near the church of ottoman-era food, taxi back to near hostel, jason out to retrieve laundry, mike sends a bit of the email and works on eclipse video while jason reads, watch sin city (again) and hit the sack
  • Tue Apr 25 - this is apparently ANZAC day, up a bit late, tasty kebab lunch at cafe owned by guy that directed us to football cafe, walk around grand bazaar and buy some goods, stop for a drink of boza - weird fermented grain stuff, take a look at sulieman's mosque, walk to waterfront and catch tram to sultanahmet, walk to hotel and pick up warm clothes, back down to waterfront to catch ferry across the water, taxi up a hill, enjoy good view over tea, then retire inside to have a dinner mostly remarkable for the sunset view, taxi back down the hill and catch ferry back, march up to hotel, mike sets a tape to capture before bed
  • Wed Apr 26 - up around 09:00, mike has breakfast in hostel, out the door for 09:30, make it to waterfront with plenty of time for jason to have a snack and to catch the bosphorus tourist ferry, travel all the way to the black sea, disembark, climb up hill to castle, come back down for seafood lunch, take the boat back to city center, stop by train station to check on departure for the next day - all is good, walk to hostel, mike pops out to swap some books and chat with kurdish guy while jason does some internet comms, walk over to yeni marmara tea house to enjoy good food and wifi and a champion's league match, back to hotel to pack and sleep
  • Thu Apr 27 - up around 06:30, shower and finish packing, taxi to train station, board early, mike pops out to get some cash and a bit of breakfast and coffees, train departs on time around 08:30, guy a bit more borek on board, get some snacks at turkish border, cross into greece without incident

Photo Albums
Tourist Turkey

Video Clips
The Call To Prayer
Turkish BBQ
Turkish Catfight