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Six years of adventure with pics to prove it.

Day Six ~ Feb 6th

Filed under: Photos,Turkey — she_travels at 2:22 am on Sunday, February 7, 2010

The plan was to go over the bridge to the park behind a palace.. then a guy from Morocco suggested being the sun was out a person should take a ferry ride about the Prince’s Islands and disembark at the last one for delightful strolling, biking and horse buggy rides.  Sure ok!.

I listened to him tell me how to get to the correct ferry dock then was off wandering the streets in the general direction.

If ya roam long enough in any city you are bound to come across a park-like area.

Or a tree lined street.

Fish Market, the harbor where the fisherman bring the catch in is just behind this building.  The boats go out at night, get back here very early, sort and sell.  That is what we call fresh fishes.

Beyond the fish-market, one of the many ferry ports, this one felt more like an airport.

I found the passenger entrance noticed there was airport like security so before I went through I asked the guy if this was the correct ferry to Prince’s Island. He waved me to come, I repeated the the question, he repeated the motion. Ok, cool.  Retrieving my bag from the xray machine I looked toward him. He showed me a small map from a booklet in his hand, “We are here, the ferry you want is here.” He pointed with the pen in his hand.  He waved his arm in the direction I should go then handed me the booklet with map and ferry time tables.  Very nice guy..tall dude.

I wandered back the direction I had come along the rail line.

The buildings in this place are amazing.

In this place there are pockets of things, this is a restaurant area, see the guy placing flowers on all the tables. I saw yesterday several streets full of nothing but toy stores.

The Blue Mosque with the original palace wall in the foreground.

I was offered a bus to the correct ferry port but thought I would walk it… at some point streets on the other side of the wall became complex so I headed to the sea. The sea wall is directly behind me.

I happened upon a Canadian gal long about here, we had a chat while watching the sea then found we were both going the same direction.  I never did get to the Princes Island ferry dock, but we had a grand time being just short of lost.  Below are some pics of the places we found.

Cleaning feet before the service.

The men are kneeling on the other side of the wood barrier, the woman are behind us, behind a wooden screen.

Truly the inside of  the mosque are as amazing as the outside. This is the ceiling.

We went into  the mosque courtyard by way of the main road and exited to this place, it still felt a bit like mosque property and yet it was the outer edge of the Spice Market. I understand far more locals visit this market while  “The Grand Bazaar”  is saved for the tourist.

Aquariums in the foreground, mosque in the back.  Giggles!

The many spices of the Spice Market. I was having a grand time chatting with the merchants, my new Canadian friend said at one point “Man, they really do like you.”  I nodded saying “Yeah, I have no idea why.”

People get all bent out of shape when the merchants offer to show them things, many people ignore them or choose not to make eye contact in the fear they will have to spend money. I have found they just want to show off there product and if you smile and say “Thank you for your time, I may be back.” you can learn much.

One of the guys yesterday was talking about all natural Turkish Delight, he offered us several samples and told us the  “The Best Stuff ” was not only his but made with honey instead of sugar and had double pistachios.

There was a guy who introduced himself as Alpacino. I said “Did your parents name you Alpacino? He replied with a grin “It’s a nick name.” Then he proceeded to show me bins with “Alpacino Mix” spices. It was great fun.

There were several corridors inside, I don’t know if that alone is Spice Market or if the rows and rows like this are also part of the Spice Market.

We saw shops which sold only ribbon, shops selling only string or only tea kettles. Such fun it was to stroll about.

At some point my new Canadian friend (Joanne) decided the mad house of the market was a bit much and choose this tea room for a beverage. She had mentioned much earlier in the day,  while we were talking about the masses of cats about,  that she has a natural affinity for animals. I fleetingly wondered when her birthday was but did not ask at the time.

While having tea the conversation slipped to animals and horses then she said she was a Sagittarius, half human/half horse but had not ridden all that much.  After a time she asked me what my sign was, I told her then she asked “What day in Dec.” When I told her she got one of those looks, I knew straight away, Miss Joanna the Canadian landscape architect/world trekking/animal understanding gal from Vancouver was born on the same day I was. That gave us a giggle.

Cemetery inside a mosque courtyard.

I was fascinated by the old book store.


This appears to be the last pic from yesterday..I musta been tired.

I remember we were not completely sure where we were nor did it matter much. We went under a larger road which is behind me at this point, I was very surprised to see stacks and stacks of clothing shops under the road.

We asked many people the direction to Sultanahmet, when the answers we were getting started to conflict we understood many people though we were looking for the closest bus to catch to get to Sultanahmet. It was very funny indeed, so… Joanne decide very couple of blocks she would ask to make sure we were on the right course.  In the end we walked up yet another massive hill to land at in a place I knew. Whew!

Tis pouring rain here…goodness did we have a nice day yesterday..not so much today.  I am off to catch up with Joanna at a coffee shop…see what the day brings us.

Day Five ~ Redux

Filed under: Photos,Turkey — she_travels at 11:06 pm on Friday, February 5, 2010

It’s just past 6am here,  not daylight yet but I think, by golly,  I think I am looking at wide spread blue sky….HOLY Buckets!  Don’t hold your breath,  I could be wrong.

Back to yesterday…

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Bits of a castle wall I walked up a mighty hill to see.

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Castle wall during a short lived appearance by the sun.  Sir  sky is trying to be blue.

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View from the top….you can just make out some of the high rise buildings of Istanbul beyond the hill center image.

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I passed this shop on the way up the hill, figured I would have a peak on the way back, sadly the place was closed. I am not a spender but I would have purchased oneof these very fun Pinocchio dolls.

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Fun huh?

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Smattering of a military presents up that way.

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This shot is partly about the cell towers along with a bit about the sunshine.

Right then, it is day six and I am still in Istanbul…dang, so much to see and experience.

Day Five ~ Feb 5th

Filed under: Photos,Turkey — she_travels at 2:08 pm on Friday, February 5, 2010

I thought I was on my way to a park on a hill for a good view..somehow I ended up in a boat through the Bosphorus.  It was not so much a tour as a local boat which travels up and down but once it gets to the other end it stops for several hours.  So..on to the pics…

Random from last night…

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The pond was filled sometime yesterday.

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Sophia from a different angle, I only found the blue last night.

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Goodness, everyone is wearing dark colors.

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Birds are a plenty on the sea shore.

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The old and the new.

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I was told this castle wall was constructed in the form of a symbol to represent …someone’s god. This info was given to me  by a Spanish lady through a Spanish guy who learned English in Nigeria by listening to John Denver albums. Come on, ya don’t hear stories like that every day!

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Very pretty house to the left, cafe in the middle (those are tables you are looking at) and the not so pretty house to the right.

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The Black Sea once upon a time was a lake, then some wacky earthquake or some such decided to break a strip of land between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, that bit of water is called the Bosphours. What you see in the distance is the Black Sea.

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I am not going to last much longer..I will finish this tomorrow.

Day Four ~ Redux

Filed under: Photos,Turkey — she_travels at 11:04 pm on Thursday, February 4, 2010

I was still looking for a way back to the sea.

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I snapped this cause before I had the camera in my hand there were three cats on the car and two next to the yellow wall behind the car.  I was going to say, just me a the cats are out. Ahh but they bailed on me.  By the by ~ I have seen perhaps fifteen cats to every one dog, all of the dogs I have seen look to be strays as do the cats.

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Presto, if ya keep moving forward, you find the sea, there is a road (main sorta road) and look by golly a guy walking on a pedestrian path…how did I miss this, I thought I was on the closest road to the sea.  Now, how to I get down this hill, bit of a cliff really.

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One should appreciate the view even if one is concerned about returning to one’s original spot.  The mosque with the six pointy things is the Blue Mosque. I understand the sultan who wanted it built said “gold” and the builder heard “six”. The words in the sultans language are similar.

Sophia is to the right and…the palace with the wall you are hearing so much about is… to the right again.  Or below.

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I have not been inside the palace growns, I understand you can though.

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Low and behold stairs down…woohooo.

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From Wikipedia: There are many legends about the construction of the tower and its location. According to the most popular Turkish legend, a sultan had a much beloved daughter. One day, an oracle prophesied that she would be stung to death by a venomous snake’s bite on her 18th birthday. The sultan, in an effort to thwart his daughter’s early demise by placing her away from land so as to keep her away from any snakes, had the tower built in the middle of the Bosphorus to protect his daughter until her 18th birthday. The princess was placed in the tower, where she was frequently visited only by her father.

On the 18th birthday of the princess, the sultan brought her a basket of exotic sumptuous fruits as a birthday gift, delighted that he was able to prevent the prophecy. Upon reaching into the basket, however, an asp that had been hiding amongst the fruits bites the young princess and she dies in her father’s arms, just as the oracle had predicted. Hence the name Maiden’s Tower.

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Many a container ship coming and going. I snapped this shot cause I had never seen one empty, once full it sinks up the line between reds.

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Little mosque, big arse building. Odd!

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It would seem where there is sea there are older men fishing, the world over.

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I was diggin the trees, ya gotta imagine this place in the summer with all the foliage in its glory,  when you do paint the pic, do not forget to add the zillions of tourists who come in the high season.

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The birds pace the ferry in hopes of being fed, and they score,  often  I would think.

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The bit with  the yellow strips is the tram track.

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This pic may not do this building justice, it is very cool though.

Alrighty, I must decide what to do today… it is just now becoming daylight, still seems a bit cloudy out. Perhaps the sun will make an appearance later today.

Day Four ~ Feb 4th

Filed under: Photos,Turkey — she_travels at 8:00 am on Thursday, February 4, 2010

A person has only to follow the tram line to the water, hop a ferry and poof, Asian side. Pics of my stroll down the tram track to the ferry and then another stroll on the other side follow.

I did not get so much as a second look over there, I don’t know if the people are uninterested, if  the ring I was given slowed them down, if it was my sunglasses so no one could see my not brown eyes or could it just be the attention I get here is more rooted in business than pleasure. This is tourist central of Istanbul.

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Anyone for Turkish Delight?

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Palace Wall.

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It was just after nine am, I am telling you these guys sleep in.

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I have to ask someone what this gathering of men is about.

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Where would you like to go, you have only to choose a ferry.

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There are similarities to Bangkok, many a boat full of many people going many a place.

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Tell me that is not cool!!

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All that living space and a mosque in the middle.

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There are everywhere but this one looked different to me.

As the boat moved…..

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I was taken by the seeming line between housing and flora.  I was looking at a huge map outside a travel office on the walk back from the ferry,  the white building in the bottom right corner is a palace and the foliage behind is the garden. I  understand this is the highest hill in Istanbul…sounds a good spot for a view, perhaps I will have a look tomorrow.

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Hmm, ya can’t really see the dome of the mosque,  the tree next to the very old wood building is cool.

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I was looking for higher ground so….up I went. The photo is taken from the top. I had been walking a main road, took a turn down a street lined with hardware stores. I knew I could not get lost cause I was between the Sea and the main road I bailed off of.

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Being I found myself lost in Dalat, Vietnam two years ago I thought maybe it worth while to make sure the water was where I thought it was.

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And  then….I had three possible directions two of which had this sign…so UP I went again. I am walking away from the water..eeek!

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Cool Arse weathered building!

Something is amiss with my signal, the system stopped uploading pics. I may be able to continue downstairs if the light is not out.

Just quickly, four days, nine  phone calls ( approximately $30 for said phone conversations) and two cards sent to me at two different hostels, I am today the proud owner of an ATM card which functions as advertised.  woohoo!

Day Three ~ redux

Filed under: Turkey — she_travels at 11:43 pm on Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Where was I?

More pics from yesterday morning.

Empty snow dusted streets.

Blue Mosque in the background.

Sophia a bit later in the day once the snow had stopped.

The Hagia Sophia is not only Constantinople’s most famous landmarks, it is arguably one of the most famous buildings in the entire world. It was the city’s cathedral and the site of a church originally built by Constantus, son of emperor Constantine the Great. The original church was burned down in 532 and the present church was built between 532 and 537 under the supervision of Justinian I. The original dome fell after an earthquake and the current dome is evidently slightly different.

Over 900 years the Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom) was the seat of the Orthodox patriarch of Constantinople, but when the Ottomans captured the city they turned it into a mosque. Minarets were added and the rich frescos were covered over (because of Islamic prohibitions against depicting human figures). Thus it remained for over 500 years until the Turkish government decided to turn it into a museum and tourist attraction in 1935.

At this point I realized I had not attempted to get money from an ATM with my new card, so I turned around and headed for the row of machines I had seen near the Tram stop. Marble steps, nearing killed myself or at least had visions of cracking open a knee.  I tried all three machines, no joy.  Note to self ~ check the expiration date of all your money producing cards before leaving America.

Breakfast is included in my accommodation price so I popped back to the hostel for food.  When I walked in the guy behind the counter asked “Do you need the luggage room key?”  I said “No, I had thought to stay another night cause I am still having bank issues.”  He said “Yes, but we are booked this evening with a group.”  I am sure I looked confused, it is low season and the middle of  the week, what he hell. Deep Breath, Deep Breath, “Is there another place, close you recommend?”   “Yes, Eurasia Hostel just across the street and up a little, I saw you past it this morning.”  “Thank you, breakfast first?”   He nodded.

Dang, Bank issues and now I am getting kicked out….did ya ever have a rougher start to a holiday?

Breakfast in hostels is usually something local-ish and or cornflakes and milk if you choose.  The buffet both mornings I was there was delightful chunks of bread, tomato, cheese, cucumbers, and boiled eggs. I saw many people making sandwiches.  They offer tea, coffee and something yellow to drink, I decided it was a version of lemonade.

Breakfast over I popped across the street to find Eurasia Hostel, indeed it was rock throwing distance from where my bags currently were.  I had been in a chilly 4 bed dorm with cats fighting out the window (11euro) , I was offered a very warm 12 bed mixed dorm for 10 euro. I asked what the single price was he said “26 euro”. Ahh, dorm it is then.  He asked if I needed help with my bags, I told him no, paid him and was off to pack my bag.

Alrighty, bed for the evening sorted, back to the bank boggle. Oh by the by I decided between the bank issue and the weather I would hang here in Istanbul a bit longer.

On my way back into town I noticed many people about the Blue Mosque, perhaps this is the time to go inside. It is free,  though one has to go through the correct door, take your shoes off and cover your head, this last bits no problem do to the cold temps.

Inside the courtyard.

Sophia from inside the Blue Mosque courtyard.  The people, Asians from a bus I saw on the other side of  the building.

Inside the interior courtyard. I saw a guy shooing people away from what looked like a door toward an exit through the courtyard, I followed suit before he had to tell me as well.

It would see many a person from many a place come to see the Blue Mosque.

It is impressive from many angles. Not my best pics due to the low light but you can see all the blue tiles…thus, Blue Mosque.

Plenty of stained glass in the place.

The vastness of it is overwhelming.

From the exit side of the building.

Tis tough to get a pics which truly show the huge-ness of  the place.

I thought maybe if I found another bank’s ATM my card would work so… random street roaming, tis one of my favorite things cause ya never know what  you will come across.

Do you even believe how old this building looks.

Brick work of the Grand Bazaar.  This place feels like an indoor mall but far far HUGER and no doors to the stores, so think a cross between a flea market with vendors and a mall.  I didn’t wander much being I was enticed to have tea, food and conversation, see previous post.  I may have to go back….or not being I am not a shopper.

From the coffee shop were we had tea, apple tea, yummy.  Later it was suggested I taste rose-hips tea, yeah cool, it’s good too. One of the beverages they offered at lunch was  a yogurt, water and salt something… it takes some getting used to but I bet it would be yummy on a hot day. I was also offered dang, I can’t remember what flavor of baklava it was, but it is mandatory to have tea when one eats sweets on this part of he world.  Truly, a delightful day.

Ended with a bit of sun…

For a very nice sun set..

It would seem the people in this place are not early risers. The heat in the dorm woke me before call to prayer, holy hannah was it HOT.  I sorted myself, with flashlight in hand went to the terrace to see the weather and post more pics. I was not joined by others until 830a.

The sun may be going to come out today, it is still  cold, ice on the outside tables.

Oh yeah, I called the bank two more times yesterday. Once while I was with my new friends in the grand bizarre, they insisted. Nice people! Anywho the bank said to call back after 3, I did to the tune of 59 minutes and 14 bucks.

They decided to send yet another card, to the new hostel, so.. I wait. I may have a visit to the Asian Side of Istanbul. I am still not at all sure why they call it the Asian Side. Perhaps I will learn today.

Da Lat, Vietnam

Filed under: Vietnam — she_travels at 2:19 am on Saturday, February 21, 2009

This trip was when I started to realize Vietnam is all kinds of diverse in the landscape department.

Not clear cause I was in a bus but the idea here is falt-ish and dry. I had no idea.


Then back to the mountains.

I saw the pipe line before I realized  we were going that way.

From some of the way up the mountain.

See the snake of a road we came up?

The next several are from the top of  the hill, the bus stopped at a vista view.

Then there is a bit of town….Just short of 5000 feet elevation.

As I do when I arrive at the chosen guest house I dropped by bag and ventured out into town. I usually choose a direction, make turns in the same direction and end up back where I started. When going out on another day I widen the circle, this way I do not get lost.

Da Lat is constructed on hills with streets which made little or no sense from the ground. I thought I was making a sorta loop when I stopped dead on the side walk wondering not only where I was but,  how the heck do I get back to where I started.  As I stood there  bewildered by the street system I realized I was in worse shape than only being lost, I had no idea my guest house address, heck I didn’t even know the name of the place.

Frozen  on the side walk watching the traffic, coming and going, I wondered what the hell I was going to do. A woman burst out of the shop I was standing in front of  saying, “Are you hungry? You must come eat.”  Sure, ok, I will come eat.

She seated me, handed me a menu, and processed to tell me what I wanted for dinner. “Sure, ok, I will have that.”  I do not remember what it was, I do remember it was yummy, chicken something no doubt.

I was almost finished with my meal when two 20 something gals walked in. They seated themselves at a table next to mine. As they perused the menus someone had left on the table the lady who grabbed me off the street came over to tell them what they wanted for dinner. I overheard it was the same thing I had, once the lady was gone I whispered to the gals the food she was offering was yummy.

They both smiled when one of them, in an Irish accent,  said, “We have been here three nights running, the owner tells us what to eat, we do and it’s very good.” Seems the lady was the owner.

We chatted a bit about travels and upcoming plans.  I mentioned I was a bit lost then attempted to describe the guest house I was staying in. One of them got a silly look on her face while saying, “I think that is where we are staying, if ya want to wait we can take you back.”  I was happy to wait as long as needed.

Out the door and up the street to the right, over a hill down and around poof..my guest house. The Irish gals were staying in the same place.

Whew!! Saved again!

Next up.. a bit more about Da Lat.

Laung Prabang

Filed under: Flowers,Laos,Photos,SEA,Walks — she_travels at 2:37 pm on Sunday, February 15, 2009

I was in Laung Prabang for two days. I wandered through the quaint streets and alleys, up and down hills, was lost twice and soaked by rain the whole of the time.

There was a group of ladies at the bottom of the stairs selling flowers, the locals climb the stairs to a Budda and place flowers. What I had not seen before was tiny cages with birds inside.

This is what I found at the top, a view with a Budda temple behind me.

A gentleman with a caged bird came to the edge of the railing where I  was framing this shot. I watched while he said something under his breath, released the bird and tossed the empty cage in the direction of what looked like a trash bin. The sensibilities about rubbish are varied the world over. The bird release must have something to do with good luck.

Arsty fartsy just for fun

Kho PhiPhi, Thailand

Filed under: Photos,SEA,Thailand — she_travels at 8:38 pm on Monday, November 17, 2008

I don’t so much get the appeal of this place but I understand many believe it to be the end all and be all of islands.

The man in the hill..he watched the Tsunami roll in. He was showing Mom various money notes form different countries he had been given.

The hut mom and I stayed in.

Bangkok, finally!

Filed under: Photos,Thailand — she_travels at 11:59 am on Friday, September 19, 2008

My apologies, I was busy sizing, sorting and upload South East Asia pictures right up until I broke my leg July 20th, 2008. The story can be found in the short stories section of my web site.

Mom and I walked all over the city in addition to  taking Sky Train, Subway, Riverboat, Canal Boat and TukTuk. It was get fun and became game to see how many forms of conveyance we could use in anyone day.

Bangkok :

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