Trip Report Doonks & Tam do Central Europe in Spring

Discussion in 'Europe' started by Doonks, May 21, 2017.

  1. Doonks

    Doonks Let's cook!
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    Hi all. Were on our way for a Spring/Early Summer holiday in Europe:
    • Istanbul
    • Gallipoli
    • Troy
    • Istanbul
    • Cappadocia
    • Rome
    • Florence
    • Modena
    • Venice
    • Lezzeno
    • Budapest
    • Dubrovnik
    • Athens
    • Santorini

    Currently sitting in Abu Dhabi Etihad lounge waiting to jump onto Dreamliner to Istanbul. Etihad Airways A380 could lift it's game a little.

    Prepare for the pics and travel tales of fun and excitement!
     
    #1 Doonks, May 21, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2017
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  2. kaegee

    kaegee Dedicated Member
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    Looking forward to the foody pics too . :thumbs:
     
  3. TOFF

    TOFF Old And Crusty
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    Who's this alana chick?
     
  4. Doonks

    Doonks Let's cook!
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    stupid new phone
     
  5. Doonks

    Doonks Let's cook!
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    Landed in Istanbul via Abu Bhabi after a bit of an ordinary flight on Etihad. The A380 out of Melbourne wasn't the most comfortable, getting a bit old I think. Anyway, first world problems.

    Ataturk Airport was pretty busy, looking queue for immigration, but no problem. The bloke at the counter was cool, had no problem with our visas bring in PDF on the phone and not hard coy, tried to say "Kangaroo" as a joke a couple of times. Imagine that, an immigration official making a joke!

    Uber worked well from the airport. Got a few tips to not use taxis, they will rip you off. Staying at Burckin Hotel, 5 minute walk from the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sofia, about 7 minute to the Grand Bazaar. Needed to stave off sleep so got out for a few hours to wander. Man, the Turkish rug sellers are savage! Friendly, chatty, "where you from?. Oh Australia! I love Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane. My Uncle lives there, he says it's fantastic, blah blah blah... - come into my shop" They're only metres apart from each other.

    Some pics from the first few hours in the country, 21/05

    Pano view from the hotel


    Hagia Sophia




    Some cascades next to the Hippodrome


    German Fountain, a gift from Kaiser Whilhelm II to the people of Turkey for allowing a railway to be built on Ottoman lands between Persia and Germany


    Egyptian Obelisk in the Hippodrome
     
    #5 Doonks, May 22, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2017
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  6. Doonks

    Doonks Let's cook!
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    2 big heads and the Hagia Sophia


    Another big column, which at a time was the tallest in the Empire


    Found this quaint smaller cafe in a gazillion others. This guy wasn't trying to tout in his doors like the others, which was probably why we were attracted in. Great service, nice simple food, was a good way to arrive in what looks like a fairly beautiful and wonderful
    place.
     
    #6 Doonks, May 22, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2017
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  7. CarveMan

    CarveMan aussieskier.com
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    I had a rushed trip to Istanbul. I must go back.
     
  8. mx_boarder

    mx_boarder Old And Crusty

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    Nice itinerary
     
  9. Doonks

    Doonks Let's cook!
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    Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom). Pity about the renos, but hey
















    It's a beautiful place which respects and signifies both Christianity and Islam. This is the 3rd iteration of this building on this site. Lots of marble. Everywhere.




     
    #9 Doonks, May 23, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2017
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  10. Doonks

    Doonks Let's cook!
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    The Blue Mosque. This is a daily working Mosque. I know, because they announce across the city via loud speaker the call to prayer from its 6 Minarets every morning. At 4:30am :confused:

     
    #10 Doonks, May 23, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2017
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  11. Doonks

    Doonks Let's cook!
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    The Grand Bazaar. Just like Queen Vic Markets but on steroids, and far far more in your face. I sensed a LOT of trash and not much treasure.


    The Blue Mosque across the park


    So, been a great introduction to the place, people are very friendly, but on the strip that almost always means they're just a carpet or rug seller. We're off to the Basilica Cistern now.
     
    #11 Doonks, May 23, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2017
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  12. TOFF

    TOFF Old And Crusty
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    Are you walking around and calling everyone 'Johny'?
     
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  13. cin

    cin Part of the Furniture
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    I couldn't take my kids there
    I'd be pulling them saturated out of that water feature

    The architecture is amazing
    Couldn't get Aussies to build that
     
  14. Doonks

    Doonks Let's cook!
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    The Basilica Cistern. An ancient subterranean water system held up by marble columns. Imagine the manpower required. About 10,000 manpowers.





    This is the Crying Column because it is constantly damp. Legend has it, it's wet with the tears of the 10,000 or so slaves that died building it


    The Medusa Head
     
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  15. markopolo

    markopolo Naughty Corner Resident
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    A great example of recycling.
     
  16. Doonks

    Doonks Let's cook!
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    The interwebz around the place is sketchy at best, posting rate down
     
  17. Doonks

    Doonks Let's cook!
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    So, Istanbul is a thriving place full of people trying to sell you something. There are more carpet sellers per sq metre than there are kebab joints in all of Melbourne. I promised not to buy a single carpet until I find the guy who can show me a magic one. The highlights are of course the Hagia Sofia, Blue Mosque, Basilica Cistern and Spice Bazaar. A lot of ppl consider the Grand Bazaar to be a highlight, but really, it's just full of trash. The food is very nice, great street food which we've enjoyed, and the entire place is very clean and tidy, there's a distinct absence of rubbish lying around.

    The food in restaurants gets expensive in a hurry and they will jip you at any given moment. We had a Jumbo Prawn dish with in the menu was priced at 30 Lira. It came out all sizzling and wonderful. When the bill came, it was priced at 120 Lira - the 30 Lira was for each prawn, but no mention of how many to a serve and no disclosure. Caveat Emptor!



    We took a tram up to Kabatas, checked out the Palace and a few joints. Sat by the water and had a (few) Turkish Coffee. You sit there and look across the water at Asia, while you're sitting in Europe. Pretty cool!

    (OK - so those 2 pics took 45 minutes to upload. I will have to try again tonight)
     
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  18. Seafm

    Seafm Dedicated Member
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    I don't think @Normo will put "his" magic carpet up for sale.
     
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  19. TOFF

    TOFF Old And Crusty
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    Dickheads installed it wrong way up.
     
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  20. stansi

    stansi Dedicated Member
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    @Doonks Don't show Us everything now.
    Save some for the slide night.
     
  21. Doonks

    Doonks Let's cook!
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    Oh trust me, I'm not. This is day 5, we're away for 7 weeks. Gong to be a long thread...
     
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  22. Doonks

    Doonks Let's cook!
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    I've done a batch resize, maybe uploads can happen at something quicker than glacial speed now. So, we did Gallipoli Wednesday and Troy Thursday.

    Gallipoli was a life experience, a tale of errors, a story wasted life, arrogance, utter and complete bravery, commitment, mateship and total emotion. That equally applies to the Turkish forces. as an example, the 57th Turkish Battalion was 100% wiped out. Today in the Turkish Armed Forces it goes 55th Battalion, 56th, 58th... There simply is no 57th Battalion.

    The story of why Turkey chose to side with Germany in WWI was interesting. In summary, the Ottoman Government contracted Britain to build 2 Warships for them for domestic protection. The Turks paid for them, but as 1911 loomed, the Brits reneged on the deal, kept the ships for themselves and decided to not return the cash. The Germans then approached the Ottomans with the gift of 2 Battleships, ordinance, supplies, training etc. The Turks no longer trusted the Brits at all and then sided with the Germans.

    We visited Brighton Beach first, which was the planned landing point:



    Poppies growing wild. I later realised this bunch wasn't special, they're everywhere. Seeing them really changed my sense of understanding of the flower when you see them for sale for Anzac Day back home.


    This Pillbox was from WWII, even though Turkey was neutral (our guide said "we learned much from WWI, we did not want to suffer similarly"





    This was a deeper beach shoreline, longer flatter verge and afar bigger base point than Anzac Cove (as you will see).
     
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  23. Doonks

    Doonks Let's cook!
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    There were 3 actual landing points: Anzac Cove, Ari Burnu and North Beach. Ari Burnu is the point separating Anzac Cove and North Beach.

    Anzac Cove is very small, only around 800m long. The road was cut through the hillside in the 1930s, so just imagine the pitch of the hill they landed on and had negotiate with all their gear. Tonnes and tonnes of it.

     
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  24. Doonks

    Doonks Let's cook!
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    Ari Burnu Memorial, the Point between Anzac Cove and North Beach





    This is on the Point looking back across Anzac Cove
     
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  25. Doonks

    Doonks Let's cook!
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    North Beach Memorial. This was the biggest of the landing points.

    The reason the Allies landed at Anzac Cove/Ari Burnu/North Beach is not precisely known, but it was never meant to be that way. Some save in fear and a bit of panic, the row boats shied away from land fire and with the currents wandered right of their intended landing point, others say in the dark of night, they simply mis-navigated. Who knows?







    The Australian soldiers called this "The Sphinx", because it reminded them of the actual Sphinx in Egypt where they had trained for months before. You can see that over the previous 102 years, it really hasn't changed too much




    More Gallipoli to come later
     
  26. Seafm

    Seafm Dedicated Member
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    When you see images like this you realise the futility of the whole thing. Some friends visited Gallipoli a few years ago and were very moved by the experience.
     
  27. chunky

    chunky Old And Crusty

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    Fascinating!
     
  28. markopolo

    markopolo Naughty Corner Resident
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    Reading ataturks memorial speech to the opposition was an emotional experience.
     
  29. Doonks

    Doonks Let's cook!
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    This statue is of a Turkish soldier who upon hearing the yells of a badly wounded Australian soldier, under fire, jumped from his trench and ran to carry the Australian to safety and within reach of his own men. He did this of course in real danger of losing his on life. He then returned to the trench and continued fighting. Sometimes humanity is more powerful than bullets



    Lone Pine Memorial.

    Thousands on thousands lost their lives here over the Battle of Lone Pine. In only 4 days. This is the battle field and each end of the memorial ground is where the opposing trenches were. These men charged and stormed the Turkish trenches time and time again, often engaging in Bayonet fighting, sometimes had the fight hand to hand, with rocks and shovels. The Pine tree that is here now was planted in 1990 or '93 as a symbolic gesture. The original tree was destroyed in 1915.

    The rear embankment was the Australian front line


    The memorial wall is where the Turkish front line was

    Turkish to Australian front line pano


    Now, the real Lone Pine. The reason it was called Lone Pine, was that back in those days there was a song called "Lonesome Pine", and upon seeing this single Pine Tree on the flats that were to become the battle ground, the Australian called it a Lonesome Pine. That simply became shortened to "Lone Pine"

    Somehow, one of our soldiers collected a Pine Cone from the original Lone Pine tree and sent it back home. A Pine tree was planed back then from that cone. Nearly 80 years later seeds were taken from that 2nd generation Lone Pine, and planted back here at Lone Pine. This 3rd generation tree is a direct descendant from the original Lone Pine:



    And here you can see the 3rd generation Pine standing just off the battlefield, first large tree to the left of centre
     
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  30. Doonks

    Doonks Let's cook!
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    The memorials






     
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  31. Doonks

    Doonks Let's cook!
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    For me, this stop perhaps had the biggest impact. These are the original trenches dug by our forces, some of which lived in them for nearly the entire 9 month campaign, and then of course, many also died in them. Originally they were around 2 metres deep and ran for more than a kilometre.

    But here it is: it's because these exact trenches, that our guys became known as the "diggers". I stood and walked in those trenches. I stood in the footsteps real life heroes.

    It was in these trenches that the Australian and Turkish forces joked and jibed each other, eventually throwing small food packages and cigarette packages to each other from time to time

    And I'm seriously tearing up just typing this again right now. Funny, as I type this, the Minarets of the Mosques of Istanbul have just burst into life in their call to Prayer, and I'm really in awe of that as well. Everyday. So I'm raising my beer to them all, and just saying "good onya!"









    A Supply & Communications tunnel



    A Turkish troop tunnel
     
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  32. Doonks

    Doonks Let's cook!
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    This is the Turkish Memorial. As you can imagine, there were many many many more people here than at any other site in Gallipoli. Our guide, who I must say was excellent, said that it is compulsory for all those in National Service (which still is in effect) and for primary aged school children to come to Gallipoli. For the Turks, this is a story of bravery, resilience, and of course victory.











    This is a statue of the last Turkish soldier who survived the Gallipoli Campaign. He is Turkey's Alec Campbell.
     
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  33. Doonks

    Doonks Let's cook!
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    Our final Gallipoli visit was to Chunuk Bair, the site of the New Zealand Memorial and their greatest sacrifice. Chunuk Bair was a primary strategic objective of the Gallipoli Campaign, it was the "High Ground". From Chunuk Bair, the Allies would be able to see the full landscape to the Dardanelles and the Aegean Sea. The overall campaign objective was to land at Brighton Beach, cut across the Gallipoli Peninsula and capture "The Narrows". If the Allies could capture the Narrows, they could then control the Dardanelles and have direct unimpeded access to Istanbul (Constantinople), and then of course through to the Black Sea and supply Russia with supplies and ammunition. If they captured the Narrows, they could clear the extensive mine lines that block the Navy from Istanbul.

    The Kiwis pushed up a Ridge line that fair dinkum would take some seasoned mountaineers tremendous effort to navigate today. And this was 102 years ago! But they did it, and they did actually push the Turks back and capture Chunuk Bair. And they held it, but could only do so for 2 days. There were no reinforcements, but for the Turks there were. And when they called for infantry support and artillery fire from back down the gullies and at Plugges Plateau, the fire landed on them, not the Turks. A great deal of the Kiwi casualties were from friendly fire.

    This is the New Zealand Memorials. You can see how strategic and important to the High Ground was







    Looking back down toward North Beach and the Aegean Sea


    Looking across the Gallipoli Peninsula to the Dardanelles



    Gallipoli is a deeply serious and insightful thing to visit. If you ever have the opportunity, I HIGHLY recommend it.
     
  34. Doonks

    Doonks Let's cook!
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    Çanakkale is a pretty cool place. Quite relaxed and easy going, very young population primarily due to the nearby University









    the Trojan Horse from the Hollywood movie lives on the foreshore. Everyone is entitled to a little chintz I guess
     
  35. VSG

    VSG Pool Room
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    Much photos. Much fun.

    Nice time to travel. Not too hot.

    Enjoy.
     
  36. Doonks

    Doonks Let's cook!
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    The Ancient City of Troy. Over 5000 years old and steeped in legend, as told by Homer in his story "The Iliad". This is a fascinating place which holds immense human history, and a few mysteries yet. There were in fact 9 separate cities of Troy, each build upon the previous one. Troy 1 used mud brick and straw to build foundations, and over the ages, the people learned better ways to make bricks, from better materials and how to build stronger using better stone masonry. Troy enjoyed eras of great wealth, and whilst the legend of the Trojan War centres on the kidnapping of Helen, the Greeks may really have waged war in order to plunder the city.





    2 walls. Right hand side is from Troy 3. Left is a tower foundation from Troy 9 that was simply build up against it. They are not interlocking in anyway. The advancement in building technique is obvious




    Looking toward the Aegean. Once it was at the doorstep of Troy, today it's over 5km away. This is likely to be a major reason Troy fell into a dark age and lost its wealth


    Marble artefacts from the Roman period


    Part of the Marble ceiling from the Temple. Roman period


    This is foundation brick from Troy 1. Over 5000 years old


     
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  37. Doonks

    Doonks Let's cook!
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    Trojan homes laid out. Human bones were found from children in the boundaries of these houses. No one nows why they chose to bury their children inside their houses


    Ramp going up to the Southern Gate entrance. This shows they understood the mechanics of moving large and heavy things were made easier with a ramp. If the Horse story is true, this is where it was pulled up and into the City




    An Alter, possibly for baptisms, or sermons etc. The large well on left is for animal blood, the next is for washing. Animal sacrifices were required before coming up the ramp to enter the city


    Roman artefacts, marble columns etc. Beyond those trees they believe is a full yet to be excavated Roman City


    Roman Forum


    Here is another approach to entrance. You can see the use of water management in the middle of the road, a gutter system to run water away from the entrance




    One of the mysteries of Troy is that while they've found plenty of animal bones, mostly horse, and some human children bones, they've never found any adult human remains whatsoever. They don't know if they perhaps cremated the dead, took them away to another place for burial, or perhaps buried their dead at sea.
     
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  38. Doonks

    Doonks Let's cook!
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    The Topkapi Palace and grounds in Istanbul











    Not a bad view over to Asia


     
  39. Egbert

    Egbert Dedicated Member

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    Must have been some treasure. They got security.
     
    #39 Egbert, May 27, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 12, 2017
  40. Doonks

    Doonks Let's cook!
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    I turned the tables on the store keepers in the bazaar yesterday. Instead of saying "no" every 3rd step as you get accosted and getting cheesed off at them when they ask "can I just ask you a question?", I started saying "Yes!". They'd step up, I wouldn't break stride and then I'd say, "walk with me, I'm going this way. C'mon let's walk and talk " They didn't know what to do. I laughed and smiled an smiled and joked with them, kept asking them to come with me. Tam thought I'd gone completely mad. It worked though.
     
  41. TOFF

    TOFF Old And Crusty
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    LOL LOL LOL
    They will add you to some type of watch list if you keep that up.
     
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  42. cold wombat

    cold wombat Twitter Contributer
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    Jolly good. We'll be free of DJOTD for at least 20 years!
     
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  43. Doonks

    Doonks Let's cook!
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    Tam and I did a private walking and food tour of Taksim. Amazingly, very few food pics! This was a great tour, our guide was fantastic. Taksim Square was the location of a recent public protest that didn't end particularly well, but was successful. For the moment. Taksim is not very touristy and exactly what I was after, I loved it. Locals doing local things, fresh produce stores, fishmongers, butchers, Kebab joints, pastry stores that looked like jewelry stores they were that beautiful.

    We tried Almond biscuits, Turkish Bagel (can't remember their name), Turkish Delight that was amazing and nothing like what we have at home (which I am not a fan of). We drank beer in a lane way where we were clearly the only non-Turks down there.

    This was one of the best days we've had here so far.







    This opened my eyes a little more. This is a Roman Catholic Church, and a few doors down is a Synagogue. There are dozens of Christian Churches in Istanbul and dozens more of many other denominations, mind you, there are over 3000 Mosques, but hey, what do you expect? There is no problem, no animosity, no separation of other religions here, oddly, much like Australia.




    We visited a typical neighborhood "restaurant" where they had freshly baked Almond Syrup cake and a layered pastry with pistachio and almonds. They told us because it was the first day of Ramadan, they only cooked less than a quarter the food that they normally would, and they didn't expect to sell all that. Most households bring their families together at home to feast Ramadan, at least for the first week. Then they tend to start to eat out.


    The shopkeeper insisted we try his Dolmades and Corn Bread which is served with Yoghurt. The Dolmades were delicious and different to the Greek Dolmade we are more familiar with. These had savoury beef through the rice mixture and no vinegar or lemon juice and so did not have that sour pang to them. They were made with Grape Leaf and were very moorish. A must try when I'm back home. He also invited down into the basement to see his oven and marble dough slab. He had no English at all, but I asked a few questions and he got what I was I meaning. I was in pig heaven to tell the truth.

    Galata Tower, a Lighthouse from one of the Sultan eras
     
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  44. Doonks

    Doonks Let's cook!
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    A cocktail at the end of the day overlooking Asia


    Seeing the sunset over a continent you're not standing on is not something I ever considered before


    It also happened to be the first day of Ramadan, and we didn't know what to expect. It was an entire city party. Down in the Hippodrome they set up thousands of tables and chairs and fed the masses. It's ideally for the poor and homeless, but no one is turned away. We were sitting in a local restaurant and they seemed to be rushing us just a little. We were to see that it filled completely up (as did every other restaurant) and pretty much everyone go the same or similar food. Then, as is was getting dark,, the locals clearly were getting a little more excited. I said to Tam "I wonder if there'll be some signal that the sun has set and they can begin to feast". All of sudden there was this MASSIVE double explosion of what sounded like a cannon going off. About 10 seconds later, a second double explosion.

    RAMADAN MUBARAK!!!





    Everyone's entitled to a little Vegas aren't they? The Blue Mosque


     
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  45. Doonks

    Doonks Let's cook!
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    Went up to Kabatas by Tram, wandered around the Palace up there, walked all the way back to Sultanahmet (where we're staying), saw the fishing from the Gatalan Bridge.





    Left side Asia, right side Europe


    The Clock Tower


    I dunno, I just liked the grungy city steps


    A new modern Mosque

    and a local Copper hard on the job







     

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  46. Doonks

    Doonks Let's cook!
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    The Spice Bazaar










     
  47. Olgreg

    Olgreg Dedicated Member
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    I'm loving this account @Doonks so is there any sign of a tense security situation?
     
  48. Doonks

    Doonks Let's cook!
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    Nup. Local cops just doing local cop things
     
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  49. Beerman

    Beerman Dedicated Member
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    I was in Istanbul on Anzac day last year. Your photos bring back some great memories, glad to see you love it as much as i did.
    Turkey is much underrated as a tourist destination from an Aussie perspective. Great to see you enjoying the country and sharing your experiences. Keep the photos and commentry coming, great work.
     
  50. Doonks

    Doonks Let's cook!
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    So, a few days have gone by and I've got a little catching up to do. WiFi speeds make it difficult sometimes, so do tour times etc.

    Anyway, we flew out of Istanbul yesterday morning into Kayseri which is the major airport for the Cappadocia region:


    Saw this on the way. Mt Erciyes.


    And we're staying on the blue dot. Cappadocia is most famous these days for Hot Air Ballooning, which we were supposed to do today, but the wind stopped us. We've re-organised for tomorrow morning, however, its touch and go as we need to be on a plane ex-Kayseri to Rome at 9:00am. We've paid for a private driver to whisk us off to the airport directly form the Balloon landing point. Fingers crossed!

    The other thing Cappadocia has is caves. These have been houses, dwellings, churches, kitchens, stores etc for thousands, maybe even tens of thousands of years. We're staying in a cave hotel:


    So to give you some idea of what the area and caves are like:










     
    #50 Doonks, May 31, 2017
    Last edited: May 31, 2017