Category Archives: Turkey

Away from the Golden Horn – what lies outside Istanbul’s centre (2/2).

Across the Bosphorus: Kuzguncuk. Istanbul, it can be argued, is a world of its own, and as in every self-respecting world you need a guide. Not a handbook, but someone who can direct you, offering insight and advice. Dante had … Continue reading

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Away from the Golden Horn – what lies outside Istanbul’s centre (1/2).

Symbols you won’t find on your keyboard: Beşiktaş and Örtaköy. I turned a corner on Beşiktaş caddesi and basically run into them. Milling around on civilian buses and police vans, sitting besides the mammoth hydrants that usually turn up, at … Continue reading

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The places in between: wanders through Fener and Balat.

I saw them from the above, a rare treat for a city like Istanbul, where landings seldom come from the north: huddled close together, squashed between the Golden Horn and the minarets of Ottoman mosques, were the houses and streets … Continue reading

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Out of the news and into real life: when terrorism strikes close by.

When travelling, there are a few risks one can manage. A bout of Delhi belly can be avoided by not having a salad (or by accepting the inevitability of trotters; after all, doing nothing is an alternative). Being mugged in … Continue reading

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A six-hour layover – snapshots of Istanbul in black & white

My inbound landed at 18:00. My outbound wasn’t due until some 6 hours later, at about half past midnight. Six hours that I could’ve spent wandering aimlessly through the airport corridors, boozing in a lounge, ending up – inevitably – … Continue reading

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“Shadow of the Silk Road”, by Colin Thubron

The first time I took this book in my hands I almost regretted buying it. Mind you, it was a cheap bargain at Turnham Green’s Oxfam branch, so at least I was sure that those £2.90 had not been wasted, … Continue reading

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Hagia Sophia – a tour through an icon’s history

The Hagia Sophia museum has an entry price which is nothing short of a rip-off. Outside, you’ll be harassed by street sellers and impostors posing as guides. Inside it’ll be full of noisy and disrespectful people either yapping on their … Continue reading

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Overlooked places – Moda, Istanbul’s Asian side

“Çai tea Çai tea…” the litany resounds from aisle to aisle in the open deck of the ship, echoed above by the tremulous shrieks of seagulls trailing in our wake. The ferry waiter, immaculate in his white shirt and blue … Continue reading

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Beyoglu: on the trail of Istanbul’s revolts

Intrigued by my enthusiastic reviews, my boss and his partner visited Istanbul earlier this May and, as it often happens when visiting a new place whose non written rules and behaviour are unknown to us, they merrily walked straight into … Continue reading

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Backbone of the city: a praise for Istanbul’s ferries

Istanbul lies in probably the best geographical location in the whole world; its strategic importance might not be as prime as it used to be when the Byzantine Emperors used to run the shop, but its looks are still as … Continue reading

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