Motorcycling Istanbul

I wanted to get to bed early. Tomorrow would be an adventure. Hell I have a hard time crossing the street in this city and now I’m touring it on a motorbike. I gave up playing Texas Holdem and started watching the PBS American Experience story of Wyatt Earp.  What a great story and interesting man.  My life seems boring after watching that.  Well we will see what happens tomorrow.  Mark Twain comments about the wild west after the Civil War…was it was an American BBQ .

Mark Twain also commented about his experience at the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.  He was a travel writer also.  He said : “We went to the grand Bazaar in Stamboul, of course, and I shall not describe it further than to say it is a monstrous hive of little shops–thousands, I should say–all under one roof, and cut up into innumerable little blocks by narrow streets which are arched overhead. One street is devoted to a particular kind of merchandise, another to another, and so on.”  He added that everyone should see it.  I’m going to the Bazaar tomorrow or the next day for sure.  I leave in three days. Lots to do.

Orhan driving

What was I thinking?

Grand Bazaar

Orhan met me as planned and suggested the Grand Bazaar right off. So I hopped on the back of his BMW Motorbike and we speed off into the Turkish Traffic .

It was only a short distance and  we spent about an hour in this Maze of shops that was a city within the city.  It was huge, well organized, clean, and you really could find whatever you want if you had time to explore and didn’t get lost.  If you really wanted to just see it all without shopping, it would take 3 hours.It was built in the 15th century, covering an area on 54,653 square meters and is the oldest and largest covered bazaar in the world.It has 21 gates, ,17 inns, 66 streets, nearly 4000 shops and employs more than 30000 people.

We took off to the other side of the city to climb the Galata Tower.  It looked imposing and I started to groan as we walked in until I saw the elevator!  My heart leaped.  We bought our ticket, entered the elevator and went up but the elevator stopped and let us out on the seventh floor.  We walked up another 4 floors and steps out on the circular walkway to see the best view of Istanbul there is.  After some picture and video taking we decided to take lunch at a nearby restaurant the Orhan recommended for the food and the view.

Let’s go Da vid

  It was a short walk and we were seated on the balcony overlooking the city.  I decided to have some lamb.  I love it and in Turkey, lamb is a staple cooked many ways so I tried a lamb and mushroom stuffed crepe with cream sauce and cheese on top.  Orhan shared some of his Chicken salad and after coffee we were off for a walk.

Chicken Salad

Lamb and Mushroom Crepe

Tower View from the Restaurant

We were next to one of the longest pedestrian walkways in the world and Istanbul for sure.  It turned out it was the same one I went to the night I arrived and was staying at the hot hostel.  I started up the mountain and ended up in this busy huge street but didn’t realize it was the one I was now on until we started to get to the end.  We stopped by a great unusual Art exhibit called “Hold Me Close to Your Heart”  ,an amazing record-music store, and an original Japanese novelty store with very unique gifts like a solar powered rainbow maker.  Seriously. We stopped for some espresso then headed back to the Motorbike.

Great Pedestrian Street

David trying to Photo Mini Cooper Police car…Police telling David he is on the Tram Track
Again, How do I get on this?

Thank you officer!

This is Scary

Orhan was deft at moving through the intense traffic while returning me to the hotel.  He had highly recommended I take the ship to the Black Sea tomorrow, have a nice seafood lunch and return.  A beautiful 6 hours voyage.  I decided to do that .  As we were going through the traffic I noted a man in a wheelchair. I thought that he was going to be killed trying to cross in the traffic hour.  Later I saw the same in Bucharest.  What they were doing was begging money from cars.  He dropped me at the hotel and I booked a room in a Hotel for Varna , Bulgaria .  I made it for two nights before I remembered I have Bulgarian SERVAS hosts that said they would put me up if they were available.  I also emailed them and asked to stay on two more days if they were still open to the offer.

I then went out to see what was happening during Ramadan. Ramadan is Here.  Ramadan is Here the Documentary  This documentary is pretty much what I’m witnessing and sharing with these people.  Food vendors were in the streets with special deals for take out limited menu specials.  The restaurants were also offering only  fixed menus at a set price because they were busy with take out.  Lines waited to get food to return home to the waiting family and guests.  When the Minaret called a pray to eat.  Food came out of everywhere and hungry fasters became ravinous pigs.  You could hear a pin drop in Istanbul…everyone was feasting . Special foods were laid out for huge and small groups of people gathered to share the meal after going all day with nothing.  People were happy and laughing.  Many were dressed really nice for this celebration.  Even the women dressed head to toe were sexy and attractive while making a fashion statement. I’m not talking about the ones with their faces covered dressed in black. They weren’t out in public.  Too difficult to eat under the veil. You could not get any alcoholic beverages in any of the restaurants during this month during the day. There is lots of music also. Free concerts in the park every night from 8-10pm. Not all of the 98% Muslims in Turkey adhere to fasting.  Yasar and Orhan laughed…go without food all day…are you crazy. Orhan and I had lunch together.

 David is also one of the Prophets of Islam as is Jesus.  Mohamed was the last and the one who Gabriel the Archangel passed down the revelations to create the Qua ran…which was memorized and passed on as Mohamed couldn’t write. His parents passed away when he was young so he grew up an orphan.  Years later it was put into writing.

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