Friday, October 1, 2010

Day 26: Munich to Istanbul

So after a few hours kip on the bench in front of the check in counter I needed to go through, I smashed water and decided I felt better than what I thought I should under the circumstances, so took it as a win to start the day on. The check in started, so grabbed my ticket (yes, my booking did work.) and made my way through security, a long queue for passport check and then had some white sausage to tide my stomach over. Two hours later was touching down at Ataturk airport, getting a visa, standing in another long (and slow) queue for passport check, changing currency, getting my bag and finding the bus Brad said would get me into town. 30mins after my intended arrivial at Taksim Square, I met up with Brad, Seda and Brad’s cousin Jono, who 5 mins after meeting me, got the bad news his booking for London had not gone through. So on the way to my hotel we stopped at a couple of travel agents, had ice cream (it’s like 28 degrees here) before Jono got on his way to the airport to see if he could sort it out. So after tagging out Jono (he ended up getting to London fine and on the flight he thought he had missed out on), Brad and Seda helped me find my hotel, and we started checking out all the sights near where I was staying in Sultanahmet.

Of course checked out a few mosques and found a place they had brought Jess and Stass for my first Turkish beer and a ‘turkish bong’. We went with melon for the bong and I went an Efes dark pils for the beer. Like many of the german darks, pretty watery, not a whole lot of flavour, but could at least see it had some roasted malt to make it taste like real beer as it sunk in that I was in Istanbul and with Brad and Seda. Also had a standard Efes pils, which was exactly as I expected, like the dark, but without the dark, before we walked around and made our way back towards Taksim, finding a bar Brad and Seda knew for dinner.

One beer they had told me about was this coffee infused dark beer that Efes also do, and so had that with creamy chicken pasta. The Efes Dark Brown was pretty interesting actually. Normally through the roasted malt you get a bit of a bitter coffee taste, but in this case it was a sweeter coffee flavour, and found the first mouthful to be quite alright. Seeing I am not a coffee drinker though, the coffee flavour was a little too much on multiple tastes, so was happy to have the food cleanse my palate a bit after each taste to help me enjoy the beer. So far then, the Turkish beers have not been offensive, easy drinking and good to see there is some experimenting happening to do something different with beer.

Coming into another city have noticed this organic-ness to Istanbul. So many people living their lives, with apartment blocks stretching for kms and every space in the city being used. The biggest things in this place are the mosques, and whatever space is left over is used for everything else in life. And it is used! Shops are completely full of stock, and any nook or cranny could have a shop or someone living in it. With something like 17-20 million people in this city, it is close to the same population as Australia, but all in one area. It has been interesting soaking it up and seeing people just getting on with their lives in this city. I look forward to doing that more today. Finally, I have had a sleep in a real bed and been able to catch up on my beer travel notes over the past few days, I can have brekkie and ‘tffy’ (team ‘ffy’. Something we came up with last night. Seda is cuffy [cute+ffy], Brad fuffy [funny+ffy], and of course I’m already beefy. Ah, close enough) can get more into this city. I am such a lucky person!!!


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