A Travellerspoint blog

sight seeing istanbul

sunny 40 °C

i will try to make a short sight seeing from the city i fell in love with, by showing my favorite places!
but at first i would show some pictures which reveal quite well the contrasts i was speaking about in the previous article!
hope you will enjoy as much as me!
DSC05515.jpg DSC05517.jpgDSC05519.jpg

i will add the other one in the picture album!

some classics, but impossible to forget...

the blue mosquee, with this strange and magic athmosphere. i sat there 2 hours, fascinated by this mystic light coming from the stainedglass, and reflected by the blue ceramics inside. but carpets on the floor , the decorations give some warmness, and the feeling to be at home, maybe cause you enter in in socks and with a soft veil on head.
the most astonishing is that even if the mosquee witnessed some earthquake, the roof and the windows never felt down, never get damaged! the whole nights that sultanhamet archtect spent to think about how to built this roof so hight were successful, or maybe it is from some extraordinary forces!
but architecture is really mathematic, the main circle roof (dontknow english name, is supported by 4 smallers one, each one is supported by 1 half one, and each one of those, by 3 other one!DSC05447.jpg

aya sofya, gigantic, 56 meters hight and only 5 years work and 11000 workers! gold roof, mosaics.... even lot of valuable objects has been stolen, it remains unbelievable! its not really incredible that nothing could equal this beauty during several centuries! mehmet had even transformed it into a mosquee, so you can see the mihrab inside under the marie mosaic with the child and several times a day the muezzin call to the pray!DSC05537.jpg

the bazaar is as well the istanbul i dreamt about, so exotic, a labyrinth of streets more colorful one than the other!
i got lost several times inside, and one time i was so tired that i took a tea with hassan the carpet sellers, one month younger than me, that s strange to think that we were not so different, but our lifes were totally the opposit after speaking more than one hour in his shop!
but the best parts for me are the animal bazaar were you can be heal by those worms who live in swamps and drink blood, or where your future can be read by pigeons!
there are as well the bookshops, with pyramids of books that are not edited in france anymore, in everylanguage, stray cats sleep on the whole!
you have as well the spice bazaar, mixtur of colors and smells, not really authentic any more but pleasant to see!

water front where you can play backgammon, fish, shot balls with weapons, eat grilled fish bread sitting in the middle of a group of old women....

i went today to the other side of the river, to taksim square and different palaces, but i didnt like it that much, in old streets very modern shop are trying to attract the crowd, just when you get a bit out of the main streets, you can find small markets and nice places. and i heard several time aznavour in shops :)

so those last days have been quite busy! i visited the whole day, and to avoid crowd and warmness(40 degres) i went to sit for a while in different mosquee i crossed on my way. so peaceful!
and i started to find some routine here :) every morning i went to see cesim, he is kebab cook on the way to iran ambassy, he offer me sliced fruits, mini kebap, and tea, then o got out to visit, and i came back on evening to speak with maggie, from australia, 7 months travel around the world to follow all F1 races, and sheng from south corea, mehmet the receptionist and several other person met during the stay!
and we drink tea all the time, thats incredible how the turkish tea can be tasty, i became addict and cannot have 2 hours pee autonomy YY
we liked to see the moon rise from the mazing view on the bosphor from the last floor, in turkish the reflect of the moon over the water is called yakamoz! having a word for such a beautiful event is really cool :) cause the moon is orange when she rise, i had never seen that before!

however im gonna leave tomorrow evening to catch a night train to ankara, i got the iranian visa in one day, guys from the ambassy were really kind and helpful!

now im gonna meet cesim, to have a narguile as he finished working. turkish people i met have at heart to welcome visitors as much as they can, thats really incredible, but tourism is growing and as in croatia it could change in several years, would be a pity YY


Posted by hanso 08:09 Archived in Turkey Comments (2)


sunny 35 °C

what a dream!!! here end the first part of my trip in Europe, as i left Bulgaria, the country where you shake end from left to right to say yes (quite confusing sometimes XD). i ended with veliko tarnovo, maybe one ofthe most beautiful cities i have seen in europe! it could come from the crazy exeriments of fauve painters, or crazy poets imagination, or even from a fairy tale, with all those multicolor houses built on the cliff, dominating the river which circulate between monasteries and churches from the old ottoman city. above everything the huge fortress dominate everything. walking in the small paved streets, sitting near to the river with stary cats company is so peaceful.
but im a pilgrim on my way to india, to my dream, and im going to change continent!

now i put my first feet in asia after a night half in train half in train station sleeping, as nobody was able to tell me that i would have to change 3 times trains during the night included 4 hours wait... sometimes nobody speak english or french, its an amazing adventure to catch the right transports XD

anyway nor just arrived in istabul, i couldnt find the way to breath anymore, the magic athmosphere took roots everywhere inside of me. Majestic, strange, amazing, alive, historic, warm istanbul is everything at the same time!
the city is just a fairy tale everywhere, ever street is like a legend, seams like an illusion.
I was wandering around while i stopped on a public place, to listen to a live concert, on the warm stones, listening traditional music i had the view over ala sofia, the blue mosquee, and the hippodrome place. i closed eyes to feel istanbul athmosphere, mixture of smells from grilled corn, hot bread and narguile, of noises as the bells of the ice cream sellers with their huge pyramid of corns, and noises of daily life and the traditional music i was listening to, f colors and movements. I was in the center of everything!
2 crazy funny tukish came to sat near, i smiled at them, i was pointed out on the map the points to see, and then they took my map and with big gestures showed me their favorite places. jamal, the man made lot of fun of my pictures, placed himself at the place of every statue on it, he imitates those one in very funny ways, we were laughting so much. he took pictures of me and his wife with crazy faces, we burst into laughts. we danced 3 of us like crazy the whole evening on the main place as the moon was rising in the sky. suddently it finished, i played a bit more jew harp and we said goodbye. sometimes speaking is not necessary XD just human warm!

in the same way i met some turkish people in the train, the whole family was laughting all the time, there was a so strong complicity between all of them, they immediatly welcomed me, we laughts with the english turkish dictionary, i show then some magic tricks, card games, they gave me a simit bread (a bit as bagels), and i couldnt finished it i had already one other in hands! they were surprised i was not married, they immediatly offer me to do that in turkey!
they were from the country side and they made me understand that there were big differences between istanbuk city, modern, where girl behave like europeans, and countryside, still really traditional!
but human smiles and laughts are still here, this is universal!
human warmness is realy strong in turkey, i cannot walk 10 meters without beiing stopped by somebody for a tea, but its difficult to make a difference between real kindness or carpet advertisements or flirt.
i found a really cool hostel, and this morning i had the rightto a huge breakfast, prepared turkis for 8 euros a night. this is mostly corean place and had opportunity to speak with lots of them yesterday! i can have turkish tea whenever i want (5% of the upper brown part and the rest of water, and actually im sitting there on the 3rd floor, with sea view and just behind the blue mosquee in sultanamet!
im glad to have found it, cause i heard this morning like bad news. time to get iranian visa is 10 days, i was expecting to wait 4 days in istanbul. so 2 possibilities: or i apply via internet, and i get the visa in one day for 80 euros, or i go to the ambassy and wait for it here in istanbul, it would take 10 days and 50 euros, as 4 nights cost me about the price of intenet service, i guess i will stay in istanbul a bit more!
anyway i really fet in love with the city! and an amrican guy gave me a really cool idea! he left one year ago to land in trkey with his girlfriend, without return date and to be able to leave 4 months in istanbul, they offer volunteering in a youth hostel for food and bed, and they found a place where they needed english speaking persons, and did that for 4 months!
would be a cool idea for holidays anywhere, especially in istanbul!

so im going to check for the visa, and to make a turn around the city, in topkapi palace, and big bazaar!


Posted by hanso 00:52 Archived in Turkey Comments (0)


woaw many surprises from the last article!
im now arrived in bulgaria, with one day late... so start from the last time :)

i just finished to post the article that patrick offer me a motocycle ride in the new belgrade (which is more old communist building but there are wonderful places as well), i accepted immediatly and we left. seen from the motocycle belgrade is much different! passing under the fortifications i felt like galoping on a horse preparing to attack the castle! we took a jelen pivo, local beer, on a floating boat on the sava, with the sunset behind. so peaceful!
and he brought me back to the hostel just in time to take my train to sofia. i left and 10 sec later i realized that i forgot the balkan pass on the tavern table at lunch... ohhh boy i came back to the hostel in emmergency, and patrick jumped on his horse, and we take off to the restaurant.... nothing and in the train station after: no way to make a new one... anyway the train has left, will be for tomorrow! we went to see the biggest orthodow church by night, which looks like a big creamy cake and came back to the hostel.

on morning marco, the receptionist, patrick, christophe will come with me to the restaurant again, and marco will call the train station. nothing more... so we will spend the morning together, going to marco faculty, bookshop, vegetable market, and eating huge sweat and salty pancakes (crepe size roll into a corn and stuffed with your choice of ingredients). i will buy then a new flexipass...

in the afternoon, i will met again jennifer, total hazard, in the street (from toronto, we met in lubliana!). we will discuss a while, world is small XD

i will come back to the hostel and patrick was packing, and ready to leave. saying goodbye was really difficult. i felt suddently as if everything in the world was sad of this departure, even the sky started crying, and i suddently felt really oppressed by everything. happy christophe was here, and we will spend a nice afternoon walking aroud, eating burek, and he will offer me cakes from paul (but written in cyrillic: very funny!)

and finaly i will take teh night train to sofia, and saying new goodbye. i felt a bit bored, and wanted to be a bit alone when 2 french guys in erasmus came to talk to me.
fastly we felt asleepanyway, and when i woke up... no more cell phone.
i made a huge mess at my place, at 4am. nothing left! i saw a guy passing in the corridor, and smiled sadly at him. he came to see me, and we start discussing a bit (even if he didnt speak english that well)... after a while i told him what happened. he was a bit confused for me, and brought back some herbs, we smoked, and cheers with coca cola, he shew me pictures of his children, i explained him what i was doing, and then he asked me if my cell phone was expensive..
i understood everything and answered him that it was just to call parents, an old model which have no value at all. He asked me to dont say anything to the police, but his friend finish a phone call and he will give me this back. i smiled and tell him that i dont care as long as i have my phone, he can do whatever he wants! he kept his promise, and he will present me all the persons passing in the train, the old women are cigarets trafficants, him as well, the other is in chocolates, that guy in phones, that other one in herbs... i guess with the 2 french guys we were the only tourists! at the border they found some cigarets, but if i believe his eye sign at the exit, and his unaudible thank, they reached their shot! it made me laught

i will explain all this night with a coffee in sofia to the frenchies, and i will leave them to visit this crazy city by myslef. its buzzing everywhere! no way to be quiet, people are running everywhere, shouting and are everywhere. Happy that in some second you can find a dark place smelling the candle under golden roofs in the orthodox churches, or a place in the huge parcs in the south of thecity! i wont stay long, i dont really enjoy the city, too big, too crowded, too messy for me!DSC05369.jpg
i will me several persons at the train station who will be really helpful and in the train, i will discuss with a bulgar for some hours, head passed by the train window, watching the amazing bulgar country, from hundred years ago and so wild!
i will land in a small village where i will miss the other train, and as nobody speak english i will wait one hour at a place where nothing came, just taxi driver ad stray dogs (6 at the end!), to deal with me.
a bulgar very kind (he came back from fitness and swimming pool) who was able to speak a bit will bring me to the real bus station, smiling at my stories, he will pay my tickets, and explain me lot of typical stuff and villages stories.
ok i will visit veliko tarnovo tomorrow, a good night of sleep in the really cool 8 euros hostel with breaksfast, internet, huge common areao and where im alone in the dormitory will be cool :D
tomorrow at 6pm, train to istanbul :)

Posted by hanso 13:22 Archived in Bulgaria Comments (0)


semi-overcast 25 °C

ohoh so many things to tell but i try to do shortly :D

so i finished last time in Kotor...
in the train station i met zeljko, he advised me to see the security of the old hostel to see if i can put my tent in the garden, cause campings are very far away. i met them and they offer me to camp on the beach and they will look after me for the night, so kind people in montenegro.
Zeljko will come back to see me after his work, i had a swimm in the wonderful fjord and was dreaming looking at the rock mountains all around, we will speak for a while, the night felt down the fortress running all along the mounrtain to the top and it lightened suddently. he will offer me a niksicko pivo, local beer in a pub around. i really enjoyed this time, even more cause zeljko doesnt have that much time to spend, he is studinyg tourism, its exam period, and he is working both in the train station and in the disco. Just kindness, sort of meetings that lighten a trip!

on morning i left to zabjak, but to get there the bus made a whole turn around montenegro, passing on the coast, between mounts, and up and down, there are not that many tunnels!

i will arrive in the wild north, where villages are mostly farms, sheeps and cows are crossing the street quietly, there are forests canyons... (the tara one is 1.3 km deep!)
my neightboors are always so kind, they point me out all the time, most typical places to see, villages, the ostrog monastery built in the cliff rocks, 900 meters hight above the valley... just amazing.

finally i will arrive in durmitor national parc, and will close the lights early, tomorrow whole day of trekking! but anyway i love those nights under tent, you have to be alone in this small place, listening to the tissu wall dancing and singing with the wind and the rain, listening to all noises around, to really feel like one with nature!
real life is concentrated here, in thoses trees, grass, rivers and wind. i cannot feel alone in such an athmosphere, just well. And i have my earth boat, my tent, one day here one day over there. i get atached to this kind of living.

so on morning i left early, and after a turn around the black lake, which reflect the mounts around in his icy water, i start climbing, climbing... some hours later i reached the top of a mountain, but i get disappointed cause a cloud decided to tickle himself on the top of my mountain, everything isso foggy, i cannot see anything around YY
but athmosphere was really unique, everything looked like an illusion: the lights seamed to get out of the trees and the rocks! its like in a dream, in heaven, i feel flying!
i go up to the next summit but the snow covered my way, i had to turn back atmore than 2400 km high YY anyway i heard thethunder, and i will never have the time to get down without beeing wet to the bones YY
i will stop in a restaurant to eat a real, dark and creamy hot chocolate (texture=liegeois). and as te rain didnt stop, i decided to leave to beograd (belgrade), in the afternoon.

i passed the serbian border on evening, got a new stamp, and met just after alexander, dentist in belgrade crazy about motocycling, he really wanted me to enjoy belgrade as he do, so he advise me some places to see, make me try the typical serbian cakes (plazma: sebians grew up with this, like "petit beurre" in france). we will speak some hours and arrive at 11.30pm, he will help me to find my way.

on morning i will do something very stupid, wanted to do a big laundry but i will wash everything... no more pants YY, i will have to wear one totally wet, waiting of drying a bit, i will meet christophe, a french guy travelling around ex yougoslavia, and patrick, from new zealand, he came back 2 weeks ago from a 2400km motocycle ride in eastern europe, in 9 days, and couldnt decide to leave the amazing belgrade he like so much.
the three of us will go to the train station, i will buy a balkan pass to be more flexible with trains, and then patrick offer me to make me visit the city, i accepted for sure!
we will have a really cool day walking around the crowded streets of belgrade, its like if nobody works here!, at the sebian way of life: wlaking, cafe, walking, lunch...
i really felt in love with the city, so full of contrats, modern people or buildings are totally mixed with former on and destroyed by the war. The rests of fights are still here, but when i saw childrens playing on the old canons and chars i tell me that life continue, as if nothing happened.

belgrade, where beer is cheaper than water, where you can eat popcorn everywhere in the streets, where you can buy the fist blue fanta i have ever seen, where you can play tennis and basketball just at the feet of the fortress (which is more a place to relax than an historical site)...
strange capital, so quiet and so alive at the same time.
we will eat after in the ? restaurant (called like this cause the owner had a conflict with the church near wh refused to call it the cathedral tavern). trying special meals of the country (breeded cheese, beens, burek (pie with cheese), grilled meet kebap, mushrooms...). i will take a look at the biggest orthodox church of the world, quite impressive, but not very beautiful in my opinion.
im in the hostel now, drinking strawberry tea and talking with christophe and the receptionist, who left to syria for a while and who showed us amazing pictures. relaxing athmosphere!
tonight i will take a night train to bulgaria.

thats a sickness i guess i just want to o further further... what is more amazing that a street which continue straight to horizons you cannot see yet. but earth is round, and til where is that further, is there an end to travel?

Posted by hanso 09:28 Archived in Serbia Comments (0)

kotor, 13rd day!

sunny 30 °C

I reached to get rid of the energy added during last weeks, between waiting, departure and travel…. I walked as far as I could, in those moments nothing else matter that rhythm of the walk, its like heart beating, the road is a long life. I felt so alive, taking all around me: smells, wind, landscapes, animals…(as the snake who tokk a nap with me under my backpack!)DSC05269.jpg
Sometimes I feel a bit like a snail, with house on my back took over by vehicles, but I really enjoy to take my time, playing jew harp while walking, smilling to people I cross, taking time to listen their stories, as the butcher with hands full of blood who show me pictures of his indian wife and gave me fresh water, reading some extract of Alexandra David Neel travel diary.

At the end after a bit more than 30 km I arrived totally exhausted, in Herzerg novi, fortunately the city is a cross road for travellers, and most of people speak English and are really really kind. (I have been over taken by motors, bicycles travellers… and have seen many many backpackers rest areas on the way!)
I met there really nice guys who called the priest for me cause this one often rent rooms in summer for travellers, and he speaks French, Unfortunatly has we are still out of season nothing was ready but sisters a bit further offer accomodations! They spoke a bit of german so they gave me a huge room with kitchen and bathroom shared with them, was really nice!

They were smiling all the time, kidding…
They sat near to me as I showed my passeport and they pointed out “marron”
-”Stadt, geboren?”
-(laughts) Nein, das ist die Farbe fur (I show my eyes!)
-Ach so! Und du hast 4 Namen!”
-Ne Ne, nur fur Stadt papieren! Real sind nur die 2 erste…
They touched my arm a bit burst by the sun, and asked me what im doing, I shew them visas and stamps (crossed the Montenegro border by feet, last afternoon and got a cool stamp, the guy was really cool at the border, this is not usual!), and they smiled again, “ach Junge!”
We started laughting
So simple, so human!
here people are so kind, they do everything they can to help, even at the border, we joked a bit with the guz, he added me a vey cool stamp, and everybody tryed to find a map of the montenegro somewhere for me running everywhere in the station! and its an example between so many else!

This afternoon I will spend it in the beautiful town of Kotor (i got the trip for free, i showed my isic card and the bus driver thought that i was an ambassador!), once again Unesco world heritage, with lot of small streets, strange stairs, churches all around…

Then I will camp 2 cities further and go to Durmitor national parc on the north tomorrow!

there are no reasons to worry about (to answer remarks), i wont take any risks, and the regions in country im crossing are safe!

thanks for reading!

Posted by hanso 06:46 Archived in Montenegro Comments (0)

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