Saturday, 17 January 2009


Having exhausted the possibilities of the Galata Tower I set off once again, determined to find a ferry boat to take me to Asia, but in no great hurry to get there.

I started by walking back up to the street where I saw the ‘nostalgic tram’, then followed the tramlines along to Taksim Square. (I believe I mentioned before what useful navigational aids tram lines can be..) This part of Istanbul seems to be the more expensive shopping area, and to contain a lot of the big chain stores, which, from a personal perspective made it less interesting – I can see chain stores anytime I want! Although I did find a post office, which I felt was something of an achievement. Earlier, in the Hippodrome area, I found a nice big PTT sign, so I followed it, until I reached the end of the street, where I found another big PTT sign, pointing in the opposite direction. Despite walking back along the road 3 times, I still couldn’t find the post office. Generally when I can’t find places I am inclined to think it is my own fault, but on this occasion I think Istanbul must bear some of the blame.

Taksim Square itself is big, but not very interesting. It includes the obligatory statue of Ataturk, and a big flag. And some trees, many buses and many many pigeons. So fairly soon, I found another funicular railway* and travelled down to Kabatas, where there were actual ferries going where I wanted to go.

So I wandered off to look at another mosque – small, beautiful, and appearing not to be on the tourist radar quite so much, mostly seemed to be boatmen popping in, so I stayed quiet and didn’t take any pictures so as not to disturb anyone.

Them hopped on a ferry over to Uskadar, which is officially in Asia! This was a new continent for me. (Only 3 more to go and I shall have the full set) although I would have to admit that one cannot readily identify it as a new continent on sight. (I don’t know – maybe a really experienced continent-spotter could)

I wandered around a little, taking in a little market based in what used to be a Hammam (Bathhouse), a different (mostly fish) market, and another mosque – this one had an outside area for prayer – under the terraced roof and with it’s own carpeting, but outside the main building itself. I couldn’t see any obvious pattern in who chose to go in, and who to stay out, but I decided to stay outside.

Although cold, it was a beautiful bright day, and I enjoyed just drinking in the atmosphere. Sometimes travelling alone, and having no timetable has considerable advantages – aimlessness has its own charm.

* I wasn’t looking for it. I was actually looking for a tram. As I found out later, this would probably have taken a lot longer, as there aren’t any just there.

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