Sailing from Europe to Asia on the Bosphorus

I was advised by a colleague that a cruise down the Bosphorus River was an essential on any trip to Istanbul, so we took his advice.

SultanahmetThe Bosphorus River goes through Istanbul, cutting the city in half. Rather fascinatingly, it also provides the border between the continents of Europe and Asia. Continue reading


Bartering in the Grand Bazaar, Istanbul

We took great pleasure in visiting the Grand Bazaar (which is where the latest James Bond film Skyfall was set, although James Bond got more of a “brief overview” than we did. That’s what happens when you ride your motorcycle on the roof).

Near Grand BazaarThe Grand Bazaar was really quite big, stretching on for what seemed like miles, with main corridors and tiny alleyways to squeeze through. There were jewellery, bags, pashminas, trinkets, clothes – you name it, it was there. We spent a few hours just getting lost in there. Continue reading

Magnificent Mosques in Istanbul Old Town

What can I say about Sultanahmet, the Old Town in Istanbul?  The skyline is awash with domes and minarets, framed by the blue of the Bosphorus Strait. It is one of the most stunning – and different – places I have been to.

Blue MosqueWe started with the Blue Mosque – one of the best known mosques and so-called due to the blue tiles inside. It was really peaceful inside and we spent a while just sitting cross-legged on the floor, gazing at the vast domed ceiling. Continue reading

The Modern Life of Istanbul

I wanted to go to Istanbul, Turkey as my Dad had hitchhiked there as a student. So it was lovely for me to have the opportunity to travel to the same place.

TramIstanbul is split up into the Old Town and the New Town.  The New Town centres around the main shopping street, Iztiklal, which stretches from Taksim Square right down to the river. Continue reading

Dubai : Biggest and Best?!

Let me start by saying I did not take to Dubai.  It is what I imagine you would get if you had zillions of pounds and decided to buy everything imaginable and plonk it in a desert. It was very hedonistic – you can stuff your face with ice cream all day, eat pizza, shop til you drop, and even do skiing or ice skating in a mall. If you have money to spend, there are a plethora of places to spend it.

Burj Khalifa, DubaiEverything is the Biggest and the Best. We saw the Biggest gold ring in the world and then we went to the Biggest Mall in the world, which is next to the Biggest building in the world. Inside the Biggest Mall in the world is the Biggest single screen aquarium in the world. I was a bit sick of it by the end and longed for mediocrity – why can’t a mall be “average” or “OK”?!  I guess I’m not coming from the right mindset, coming from a country where there is a book series called “Crap Towns” (and “Crap Towns 2”, because there were too many to fit in the first book!) Continue reading