Friday, January 10, 2014


In October 2013, my crack traveling companion, Kit, and I decided to revisit Turkey with Overseas Adventure Travel, a company we've both traveled with about a dozen or so times. Previously, we'd visited Turkey, though not at the same time, with Bora Özkök on a somewhat different itinerary, and loved it, so it seemed like a good place to revisit. We had a terrific guide, Ulaş Eşiyok, a genius at skirting crowds and finding the offbeat and unique things that really make a trip special.

As usual on this blog, click any photo to enlarge it to see more detail and at the foot of each page, click "Older Posts" to keep going in the order we took the trip. Also, I've integrated scans of some of the slides from my 1990 trip into this, sometimes because they offer views that are hard to come by today, sometimes because they show places we did not revisit on this trip, and sometimes just for the hell of it.

We started in Istanbul, a favorite city of mine, which straddles Asia and Europe. Once Byzantium and then Constantinople, traces of all its incarnations still exist alongside all the accoutrements of a modern city. We stayed in a wonderful old hotel on the Sea of Marmaris, which you could almost glimpse through the archway:
If you know me, you know there have to be some interesting buildings right up front:

You will probably have heard about riots in Taksim Square last year, as a result of the government wanting to cut down a stand of trees to build yet-another mall. Here's what it looks like now. I just hope they will be able to prevail to keep the trees, as Istanbul is a city without many green oases.

After the Square, we took a streetcar down Istiklal Street, which has a lovely collection of Art Deco buildings that I discovered were impossible to photograph from a moving streetcar.

At the end of the streetcar tracks, we took a funicular down to the harbor.

At the end, along our walk to the harbor, we encountered a young man selling Turkish tobacco. He had a little machine that would roll a cigarette for you, complete with filter - quite ingenious.
Our walk brought us to the harbor right near the Galata Bridge. There's been a bridge here, spanning the Golden Horn (the inlet of the Bosphorus that divides Istanbul) since the 6th century. This is the fifth one, completed in 1994.

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