So, the all-too-quick weekend in Istanbul is finito and it’s time to head south to see my dad and his wife, Angela, and in a couple of days my younger brother Eric, his wife Jerri, and his post-college-aged daughter Nicole.
I mentioned the background to all this a number of posts ago, but again the quick summary: My parents bought a small hotel in the Caribbean in 1973, then they divorced and both remarried outstandingly cool people, my dad’s wife being Angela, and they sold the hotel in ’86 and my dad bought a place in north central England (Lincolnshire) and they started splitting their time between the Turks & Caicos and England, but then they began vacationing with a sorta timeshare deal and hit on this place in southwest Turkey that they fell in love with and a few years later decided to buy a small place and refurb it, and so now they tri-split their time between the three spots, and this year is my dad’s 80th birthday, so he invited us to join him there to celebrate. Phew! Now his birthdays’ not until this Tuesday the 17th, but schedules are what they are, so late June it was.
So, our last full day in Istanbul. Yesterday was shopping and touring; today we’d hit the two biggest and most recognized mosques in the city and also the impressively preserved Topkapi Palace, former residence of the Ottoman Sultans.
But before I start, two lessons learned on this first major world voyage whilst maintaining my blog:
A. As much as I love my iPad, it’s a pain in the arse for blogging while traveling. I can write on it no problem, but working on the WordPress site is a major hassle: the text entry window is tiny and inserting then sizing images is cumbersome and nearly impossible.
B. Plus, I’m taking my high quality photos with my digital SLR Sony camera. To transfer those images requires a USB port, which the iPad doesn’t have, so I ended up downloading those to Nancy’s laptop anyway, which meant my typical blog-posting process sequenced as follows:
freehand drafting and note-taking in a spiral journal,
typing that up via iPad,
hoping for a wireless signal to then email that document to myself,
recovering that email on Nancy’s laptop,
loading photos from my camera to Nancy’s laptop,
integrating both to WordPress when an Internet signal was available,
final drafting, then posting.
Compared to my usual process . . . this was 4-5 times more time-consuming.
Next time I’ll bring my own laptop and I’ll know better how to tap into the Net outside of the U.S.
So, I posted an article last July during the 2011 Tour de France. And now that I’ve returned from my travels to Turkey and Greece (and have my 47-inch HDTV and TiVo locked in to record every stage of this year’s Tour), I thought I’d repost.
So, with a mere two days to experience all Istanbul has to offer I checked in with Gem, our expertly knowledgable concierge at the W Hotel, and he suggested a few must-dos for this magnificent and multi-faceted city. That meant Saturday tackling the bazaars and a cruise of the Bosphorus.
1. Still a bit jet-lagged and recovering from our night in Taksim Square, we slept in until 9am, skipped breakfast, then fetched some Turkish lira from a bank machine in the Migros convenience store a couple of blocks away. They didn’t open until 10, so we wandered through the tight-packed tangle of streets admiring the entrepreneurial creativity of the shopkeepers who had wedged their tiny businesses into spaces barely half the size of our hotel room. And each with a small stool or chair outside propped outside, the better for gabbing with the vendor next door. Cozy.
2. After downloading our moolah we taksied to the Grand Bazaar, by reputation perhaps the single largest flea market in the world.