After one last night in Bulgaria, where we ate terrible shawarma’s (who puts french fries in the fucking shawarma? I guess it’s filler so they can go light on the chicken), stayed at the Hotel Cheap (yes it lived up to its name) and watched Planet of the Apes (Swanson kept shouting “Take your stinking paws off me, you damn dirty apes!” all night), we parted for Istanbul, Turkey.
I have to recommend Turkish airlines to anyone who might have the opportunity to fly with them. Class act all the way. Our flight was only an hour and a half but we were served a tasty, healthy breakfast, got to watch part of a movie and was offered whiskey on the rocks (declined as it was 10am). It’s one of the few times I wish a flight was longer.
Got in line at customs only to have some old jackass butt right in front of us. I couldn’t believe it. I muttered “fuck you” and moved to a different line and then we were ushered over to an open booth. Sweet. Five minutes later we were in Turkey. I turned around to catch the eye of Douchey McDouche-pants still waiting in line. Looks good on ya, sucker. Next up, the baggage carousel where our 3 bags were the first three to appear! Ever have that happen? No, me neither. We made our way to the subway with ease and to our stop where we boarded a tram to take us the rest of the way. This is easy! Right?
Of course it wasn’t. The tram quickly filled up to sardine capacity and Swanson started to feel ill. We had to get off half-way, sit on a bench while Swanson regained his composure and then catch a cab for the rest of the journey. No big deal, good way to see the city. And what a city! Istanbul (was once Constantinople) is fucking huge and crazy.
We arrived at our apartment and were greeted by our amazing hosts who had a hand drawn map for us to check out good places to eat, drink and visit. And the apartment is amazing (we got a great deal on it – never hurts to ask for a better price) – it’s been in their family since the time of the Ottoman Empire!
We’ve only been here a few days (we have 9 days in total here) and are just starting to explore the town. We trekked over a bridge dotted by hundreds of old dudes fishing and then up to the Topkapi Palace. It’s pretty cool, but to be honest, I think that I’m suffering a bit from castle/palace/historic building fatigue having seen so many in a relative short amount of time. The Harem section where the Sultan kept all of his concubines was easily the most interesting and fascinating. As our host Aydin mentioned, “That’s where life happened”. So true.
The food has been pretty darn good. Had some terrific Turkish pizza, skewers, wraps and lots of sweets – baklava, halva, Turkish delight – it’s a wonder anyone has any teeth left in their heads.
We have about another 5 or 6 days here to enjoy this great town. Hope to have more to report as well.