The journey home
After the highlights and reflection of the last couple of days I'm sure the record of the succeeding days and our journey home will be an anticlimax of sorts. Regardless to provide a full record of our travels following is the last few days.
26 April - Istanbul
Surprisingly after a day and a bit without sleep we both woke about 8.00 and were sorted and ready to go by 9.00. Again breakfast at the hotel, our last, and given the lack of decent food over the preceding couple of days we had a good breakfast.
Returned to rooms and I started the blog for the last couple of days, as you will have seen it became somewhat of an epistle but also a great opportunity to relive the experience and reflect on what had been a part of!
We decided to take it pretty easy today so got on a tram and rode down to the waterfront on the Golden Horn side. We then walked over the bridge looking at the dozens of local fishermen on the way. They use very small hooks with either anchovies or live worms as bait and catch small herrings. A few had some fish in their buckets but fair to say pickings were pretty slim and I think it might be a way for local guys to get out the home and socialise more than catching dinner for the family.
On the other side of the bridge we bumped into a young Australian couple who were on our bus. Stopped and talked for a while, all quite reflective and moved by the Galliploli experience.
We then stopped for lunch at a kebab shop, food was good but unfortunately it was in the shadow of a construction site consequently noise and dust detracted from the ambience.
Both the bazaars (Grand and Spice) are closed on Sunday so we wandered back along the tram route to the small (very touristy but quite enchanting) bazaar beside the Blue Mosque. Both made a couple of small purchases, Dad starting to fancy himself as a bargainer. His technique seems to be establish the starting price, deduct about 25% then just hand over that much money with no discussion entered in to. Probably. Not what they expect but it seemed to work and while in all cases I am sure we paid over the odds we got what we perceived was value and left behind happy shopkeepers. That's what it's about and as visitors to their country I'm not sure it's right to screw every last lira out of shopkeepers who are friendly, interested and interesting.
We then went back to hotel for a shower, beer (Dads developed a taste for Efes) and for me to continue writing the blog. Spent a very pleasant couple of hours sitting on the roof terrace writing away.
After the great meal and experience we had a Nostra Casa before leaving for
Gallipoli we decided to return. Greeted like long lost friends!
We sat on the top roof for Anti Pasti and enjoyed a fabulous Instanbul spring evening with views out over the Marama Sea and mosques and houses in the foreground.
Conversation kept returning to the experience we had shared at Gallipoli and how special it was!
Once it got a bit colder we adjourned inside and continued to enjoy the meal finishing with tiramisu which neither of us needed (we're both returning home somewhat porkier than we departed) but it was devine and a really good way to finish our stay here in Turkey.
Back to hotel to pack, me finish the blog and get some rest before commencing our journey home.
27 April Travel from Istanbul to London
Again awoke early and packed ready for travelling. After a week in a hotel I always see packing a bit like a close game of cricket. That is the result can ebb and flow but until the last thing is packed you a never quite sure if it will all fit or not! Anyway on this occasion, somewhat to my surprise, everything in bag and bag closed relatively easily albeit it heavy.
Got a local cab to airport and despite the hotels concerns regarding heavy traffic it only took about 20 minutes so there quite early.
Plane delayed for about an hour but flight uneventful and we arrived in London about 1.30pm.
That morning I'd book us into a hotel on the north side of Kensington Gardens. We were both keen to run/walk in the gardens after a week in Turkey where they seem to make a career of inactivity and hence little in the way of paths or parks in the city.
In making the hotel booking the one consideration I overlooked was the complex tube route to it from Heathrow. Anyway got on the first and longest on to Earls Court where after carrying bags up stairs etc got on the next one where we sat for about 20minutes before they announced it was not going to Edgeware Road after all. So at that point cut our losses and got out onto street and cab to hotel. Only notable event in this journey was cabbies expletives when he lifted my bag, looks innocuous but is heavy!
Went for a long walk then a mediocre ale at a pub (Dad stuck to his Guiness so ok), then off to another pub for a meal. Bangers and mash and boy for me, beef and Guiness pie for dad (accompanied by another Guiness).
April 28 London and homeward
Flying out at 10pm so all day here. Both up early,
Bob walks along Bayswater Road to Nottinghill and I run around Kensington Garden, Hyde Park etc.
Another glorious day in London, crisp cold with not a cloud in the sky. During the trip we've spent about a week in London and picture perfect weather every day, unbelievable.
Once we'd both got packed we retraced Dad's earlier route and had breakfast at Nothing Hill Gate. After checking out of the hotel we walked in to Oxford Street where we filled in a few hours looking around shops, nothing of significance purchased but a pretty relaxing way to fill in a few hours. Lunch in Carnaby Street then made our way back towards the hotel.
With a couple of hours to spare we called into the Mitre in Paddington where Sean, Marie and I had frequented in the past. A great old pub and Dad had his final couple of Guinness pints and I a couple of ales.
We then returned to hotel, collected bags and caught a cab to Hyde Park Corner to get tube to Airport.
Return home from there without incident so nothing to blog about!