Chapter Two Begins

Basilica Cistern - Istanbul
The stories keep on coming, it seems there is never a dull moment for me and Ken.  We just arrived at out first hotel in Greece after an amazing time in Istanbul.  Not only was the city itself amazing, but the friends we made there were equally great.  One of my biggest reasons for traveling has always been the people you meet along the way from all over the world.  The stories that are shared between people from different parts of the world can really take conversation to a whole new level.  Sharing some Turkish kiwi tea on a rainy night on the Asian side of Istanbul with our new Turk and German friends was one of those great moments I won't be forgetting.

As far as some of our other highlights go, I've got to tell you about the basilica cistern.  Just a few hundred yards from our hostel was this ancient gem of the world from the 6th century during Byzantine's rule of the city.  The underground cistern could store up to 100,000 tons of water and was supported by row after row of gorgeous pillars.  The water was carried there from many miles away up in the forest.  Some of the pillars even had large heads designed on them which added to the mystique of the place.  I've never seen anything like it before and it was definitely worth the ten lira we paid for it.  The Dohmbace palace was incredible - so cool and well maintained, in fact, that we were not allowed to take pictures inside...but this place was beautiful and left in such perfect shape that you could almost see the Turkish royalty from a few hundred years ago living their luxurious lives and partying it up in room after room which made me feel like I was in an episode of Downton Abbey.  We climbed to the top of the Galata tower, an ancient lookout in one of the higher points of the city where you can basically see as far as  the eye can see in any direction.  Got some of the best panoramas that I've ever taken that day.  Other things of note:

  • Had some AMAZING baklava during my last meal in Turkey, definitely lived up the hype!  
  • The stray dogs in Istanbul are adorable and friendly!
  • Walking between the Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque never gets old, especially at night.
  • I had nearly 400 pictures from the first 48 hours in Istanbul
  • The Topkapi Palace was so huge its hard to even describe it here...wait for my photos :)
  • Riding a tram in European Cities always makes me feel like Jason Bourne
  • When power goes out on said tram as you are headed to the airport on a TIGHT schedule its not good
  • Sprinting through an airport looking for a gate that doesn't exist is not fun, being the last one on board your plane one minute before the door closes is!
  • Missed going to Ancient Corinth today because it was closed early...sad
  • Making up for it tonight with some absolutely amazing Greek hospitality 
  • Tomorrow I'll be on a fortress hundreds of feet overlooking the sea.

Ok, time to vent a little bit.  The first couple of nights in the hostel there was always someone who would inexplicably start snoring at the WORST possible times of the morning (we're talking 3 or 4 AM) and wake up half of the room (there were about 20 beds, mostly occupied).  It became a running joke that someone had to snore, and believe it or not nothing really happened on night three.  Bring on our last night there and everything changes, this random 40 plus year old guy shows up and takes the bed below mine.  I don't think much of it at first until I notice that he is reeking of booze which seemed somewhat disconcerting.  No more than 5 minutes later it literally sounds like an uzi is going off in the room as this guy is passed out cold snoring up a hurricane.  Ken and I were just about the only ones awake in the room at the time, but within a few minutes the two girls on the bunks next to mine started to wake up and roll around in agony.  I was laughing uncontrollably at the irony of the whole thing.  One of the girls threw crumpled up paper at him, I tried violently shaking the bed and shining a flashlight in his face and nothing could wake this guy up.  A few minutes later after more laughter and just accepting the fact that I wasn't going to sleep much AGAIN, I notice someone moving by my bunk - the girl woke up again and was beating this snoring monster with an umbrella repeatedly.  After 20 or so seconds he woke up and she politely asked him to quit snoring; which he did, for long enough at least.  Victory to us.  Oh, and last but not least - Ken has the most ridiculous alarm ever - its basically a nuclear bomb warning - and it went off more than an hour early and woke up the entire room, even Mr. Snoringman.  Needless to say, its nice to have our own room tonight.
Until next time friends.


  1. I would totally beat him with an umbrella! Or at least poke violently...haha. Can't wait to see those panoramic photos. Just out of curiosity-how many memory cards did you bring? Or think you will go through?

  2. haha, only one 8gb class ten card actually. I just clear stuff off of it every so often.