Day three in Istanbul draws to a close and I have to tell you, the good people of this City seem to have a really great time. Between the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque there is a vast park, open space, or plaza with benches set around, fountains, green bits, children’s play areas, contoured paths, ancient looking piles, presumably part of the old walls of Byzantium and its always packed. There are food booths all around selling barbequed corn, Nutella wraps, ice cream and everyone just mills about very good naturedly. I don’t detect that groundswell of suspicion that lurks in the background of other major cities (London?), the throngs just seem to get on with each other, take selfies, eat, laugh, chat, drink tea and have the greatest time. I have been asked for directions, asked to take photos, offered tea, beamed at, all by local people. Anyone looking less like a resident than me I cannot imagine!
Today I went to the Grand Bazaar, it was hot, very hot, and very, very big, and it has hills. It is all enclosed to keep the weather out when wet, the curved passages are right out of Aladdin’s cave, endless booths, stalls and shops selling everything you can imagine. Not being a great shopper I didn’t buy anything but contemplated shipping a few small items back home, spices etc. I didn’t aquire a guide, just used my little compass and didn’t get too lost. Again there were huge crowds, walk on the right, walk on the right, it was like the London tube at rush hour without the tutting if someone stopped, we just moved around them!
Tomorrow I am determined to work out the public transportation system.
I cannot get to Dushanbe in Tajikistan from here which is bad, sad news as I was delighted to get my visa in London. The planes, two per week are full unless I want to go via Kabul or Moscow or other long detours, and pay hugely. So have applied for a visa to Uzbekistan. I went to the Embassy yesterday, long trip, long story, and my application was accepted and “should” be available next Friday. There are many flights from here to Tashkent so all being well I will be on my way in a week.