It seems I crashed the phone system. For the whole hotel! How? No one knows.
The reception staff had noticed periodic outages over the last few days and just put it down to the vagaries of the local phone system. Today however the system went down at around noon (when I went out) and didn’t come back up. They brought in the experts who isolated the problem to my room where I was charging my tiny laptop. They unplugged the charger and lo and behold, their phone system came back. They were very nice about it, almost apologized, as did I. There is now a sign in reception warning against charging laptops in the same power strip as the telephone! Oh dear.
In other news. ……
I have been on two tours, on buses. Corny? yes. Touristy? yes. Informative? Very.
The first one was around the Golden Horn, an enormous inlet that splits the City and is alive with boat traffic. My main interest was the history of said Horn as in days gone by there was a huge chain across the mouth to protect the harbor from invaders. Many is the book I have read about this and ultimately of course it failed and the city fell. The Crusaders succeeded (1204), then the Ottomans (1453). History vividly brought alive. Remains of the ancient walls remain, tantalizingly, and are being restored in places. Just to see those remains and think, “what have those stones seen”?
There was a cable car ride up a cliff to a coffee house high on a cliff. Not only do I not drink coffee but also suffer from vertigo, got to move outside my comfort zone, and they did serve tea. The Egyptian Spice Market was sensational. A visual and olfactory feast. Endless stalls and booths selling I not what, but it sure was stimulating.
Another bus took me up to Northern extremity of the Bosphorus where it meets the Black Sea. Lots of points for me, a geography nerd. Fascinating to see the shipping passing through the narrow straights, huge container ships feeding all those ports around the Black Sea, Burgas (Bulgaria), Constanta (Romania),Odessa (Ukraine), Sevastapol (Crimea), Rostov (Russia), and all the ports on Turkey’s North Coast. All those ships, mere yards away, carrying trade goods from all over the World. I wonder how much Turkey makes from it all in taxes?
One more moment I lost to dreaming. On Saturday night I was finishing dinner when the waitpersons started lowering the sliding roof and putting up the plastic walls around the eating area, ominous thinks I. “Will it rain”? I asked, “Yes, go now”! I did. Back to the hotel and up onto the roof, bad mistake. Sheets of rain blowing in from the Sea of Marmara, I left roof . Found another soulmate on a protected balcony and we shared a wine or two as the lightening flashed all around, thunder peeled and echoed around the City. Intense rain crashed down on our tiny roof, flooding the streets below, yes I did get a bit damp, but then, it all got impossibly better. The Mosques burst into the Call to Prayer. In a lightening Storm. In August. In Istanbul. It was just momentous.