We wake up to the call of prayer early in the morning, sleep on a bit and have breakfast on the roof with views of the Marmaris Sea (Dan doesn't wake up at all...ear plugs!!). Our week in Istanbul has been magical.
You can wonder around the streets for ages and discover new neighbourhoods around every corner. Because there is so much water around (the sea, the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn inlet) you don't feel very crowded amongst the 17 million people (more than the inhabitants of the Netherlands!!).
We treated ourselves to a very luxurious hotel the first nights, right next to the Blue Mosque in a cosy street with trees and little pussycats. It was great!
We moved to a more normal hotel after that, still with rooftop terrace coz almost every hotel has that here :-)
The Hagia Sophia is beautiful, a huge dom filled with light and wonderful mosaics. It's a museum now, so somehow lost its spiritual feeling a bit. But the building is very impressive and the combination of christian mosaics and islamic signs makes it very special.
Our bikes had a service in Bike&Outdoor (http://www.bikeandoutdoor.com/), a very friendly bikeshop and great service!!!! and we shopped around for a 'Fatima' outfit for Claire (better to cover up a bit from now on because the cycling shorts attracted too much tooting)and some white linnen trousers to cycle in for Dan.
We enjoyed having cay (strong tea in these little turkish glasses) on all the corner shops with little wooden stools and watching the world go by. There is so much life on the streets!
We met up with Josh for a day (the orange cyclist), wondered through Taksim while Dan and Josh had lively photography discussions :-)
Also met James one of the other cyclists we met on the road...we had too may beers and Dan lost his Oakley sunglasses and then fell off his bike onto a wet, muddy street. Very funny with hindsight, well the falling bit is. OH my Oakley's how i loved them :o( :o(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
All in all a great break and we are ready to go on the road again. We're taking the ferry to Yalova this afternoon and then start cycling through massive Turkey.
We didn't get our Syria visa...to cut a long story short: Dan and Claire walk into Syrian consulate and say 'we would like to apply for a visa please', Syrian woman says 'impossible', Claire and Dan leave and get a Kebab....we eat a lot of kebabs...well thats all there is to eat!
Here are the pictures: http://www.flickr.com/photos/40131711@N05/
Hoping we can get into Syria...