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Uzbekistan trip – the Silk Road tour: arriving at Khiva

What an idea for a vacation, you might say. But then again, why not? It’s a big world and a lot to see. And I’m not one for an all-in hotel vacation. I get bored after 2 days on a beach.

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I’ve only been here 3 days, and feel so totally stressless. The people here are friendly and not at all pushy. It’s like the zen’est place on Earth right now.

We did most bookings and requested information via Advantour, an Uzbek travel agent which prooved to be very usefull. We e-mailed regularly and even phoned to double check. Top notch service.

Flying with Uzbekistan Airways was a breeze, though I was nervous about that. The plane was only half occupied, so enough sleeping room for the 6 hour flight from Europe. You need a valid passport and a visa to get in, before your trip. Most countries need an official invitation letter. Only a hand full of countries don’t. Customs check went smoothly, though the offical was kind of flirtatious. Welcome in Uzbekistan: where it seems people want to take a picture with you when you have big blue eyes!

Khiva is the first city on the tour, and only 20 minutes away from the airport. The mud like fortress walls of the city make all the charm of staying there. We stayed at Meros B&B, a friendly family run it. Located near all the main sites, the only minus is the breakfast: a bit of the same really, and I can only eat so much omelets.

Khiva itself is to be seen in all in 2 full days. After that, best to plan away trips. To see the sites in Khiva, you can buy a city ticket at the West Gate, which is valid 2 days and permits most musea visits.

Money, not an easy thing. Start from the principle that there are no banks, so bring cash you can exchange, preferably US dollars. The Uzbek money notes are huge, so a wallet is not the best way to carry them around. Not easy, paying in thousands of notes!

Do note, as we had the fun to experiance, that Saterdays and especially Sundays, Khiva is filled with kids, from outside the city, busloads full, to have their own little city trip. Friendly, but as a European, they took more pics of us than the sites, it felt.

Goodbye sweet dad

My  sweet dad, you passed away 3 weeks ago. My heart is broken. I’m proud I was your daughter, you were my precious, fragile dad.

Two decades of Parkinson disease had made a strong dad a fragile man in the end.

As I held your hand one last time that night before you left us; as I caressed your face and your hair, I listened to you breathing while sleeping. You looked so serene.

You were my tutor in life. A man of flesh and blood, with your faults too. But with a good strong heart. As you loved that quote at the end of Some like it hot, “nobody’s perfect”.

Your love and passion for the 7th art has been your greatest teaching to me. You taught me who was Max Linder and Meliès: the early days of cinema.  We watched La Belle et la Bête with Jean Moreau as the Beast. We laughed at Louis de Funès, Bourvil and Fernandel. Admired Marlène Dietrich, Greta Garbo and Kathrine Hepburn. You explained La Nouvelle Vague to me. How you enjoyed The Party with Peter Sellers. How I dreaded all the Western movies, but adored Singing in the Rain with you over and over again (cause you taped it on video). How i thought Fred Astaire was way better than Gene Kelly, and you defended Kelly by focussing on his love for emotion through dance rather Astaire’s technical choreography. How you were outraged our current generation has no clue to who is Bob Hope, Errol Flynn, Humphrey Bogart or Bette Davies. You were a fan of Quintin Tarantino, even when others of your generation would be in horror of his work.

I loved how the Halliwell’s Who’s Who in Movies was the bible in our home. How you regretted not being able to go to the cinema anymore. The last movie you saw in a theatre was Amadeus when it came out. You eagerly asked “did you see any good films lately?” when i came over to visit. I think you liked how I regularly go to the cinemateque (the film museum) and rediscovered the golden age and also obscurities of cinema. Even those last days at hospital, with your confused mind, you still asked that question to my boyfriend. You were still in there. You still knew somehow who we were, through our shared passion.

How can I ever forget you now? Every film is a reminder to you. Every new discovery on screen, I cannot share with you no more.

My sweet dad. A lot of tears flow over you, and I bet you think this to be silly, but the tears will stop I know. But missing you won’t.

I’m glad to share a passion with you that keeps your spirit alive.

Be in peace. I love you, always.

Knock knock. Who’s there? Work. Don’t open and it might go away.

Well I never thought it. I have tried avoiding it as much as I could, but it seems to creep up to me as much as I fight it.

A career.

I’m pretty satisfied working behind the scenes, nice and neat admin. Meeting loads of people and knowing all that’s going on without the responsibility. Now I feel being pushed in a role that though appealing is not something I’m actively looking for and frankly kind of scares me.

Give me a 9 to 5, and I’m happy. I can go to movies, to film festivals and keep up with my blog. Have a life besides the work-me. Now, I’m going 1 hour earlier to work, stay later, all in the focus of getting the job done. To be proud of what I deliver and be certain everything is done  before the opening day. Currently it’s just at the crunch moments, near the completion of the project, but I fear it might evolve to this all the time. Maybe it’s just the stress from these past 3 weeks talking. I’ve done a lot of hours since, that it feels like it’s all I’ve ever done. Maybe I’ve lost the ability to put things into perspective. I’ve always had trouble being stress resilient and not having things going according to my schedule.

I’m just uncomfortable being on the foreground. Maybe it’s something to grow into. We’ll see.

Alien³ (1992)

imagesOK, I’m going to beshort on this post. I have seen a whole bunch of Alien movies in the past month, not particularly in the right order: Aliens, Alien, Promethius, Alien³. Still to go are obviously Alien Resurection and Alien vs Predator.

What I just don’t get is when and how dit Ripley get the alien inside her? Poof, suddenly she’s got an alien queen in her chest? How did that happen? Did a scene get cut and does that give the explanation? It must be something I missed, but what?!!! Argh, very frustrating!

Dead Mountaineer’s Hotel (1979)

Another visit at the film museum after a long absence to see this Estonian movie: Dead Mountaineer’s Hotel. You either think it genius or you are totally confused on how you really feel about this movie.

PLOT

Inspector Peter Glebsky is called out to a hotel in the snowy mountains, but when he gets there, the hotel keeper Alex Snewahr doesn’t know who or why he had been called for. Glebsky, unable to go back home through the night in the mountains, decides to stay at the hotel and see if he can findout  who called and what crime might be covered up.

Glebsky soon finds that each hotel guest is weirder than the next one. Of course during the night, a murder is committed… or so Glebsky is lead to believe…

OPINION

Well, the way it is shot, and remember it’s from 1979, is actually very interesting. A lot of “in your face”, or rather, “in the actors face” shooting gives you a feeling not knowing what really is going on. And adds to the eery atmosphere of the story.

And not wanting to spoil it for you, if you do ever get the chance to see this, I was very shocked about the aliens. I’ll leave it at that.

The Mexico trip or the “in persuit of Frida and Diego art” trip

MEXICO – ONE OF THE MOST DANGEROUS COUNTRIES OF SOUTH AMERICA

You can’t imagine all the (horror) stories I’ve been told since I said I was going to Mexico for my summer vacation with my boyfriend. Usually ending their anecdotes with “… but I’m sure it won’t happen to you.”

The weeks leading up to our flight I had panic sweats and anxiety attacks thinking we’ll be mugged, raped, sliced and diced, sick from the water, sick from the food, kidnapped… all the things you should not be thinking off before heading off to a well deserved vacation.

The thing is, pick where you want to go wisely. Avoid the north part of Mexico, being a tourist. And do enough research!
Well I must say that we loved Mexico! We had a fantastic time, too short a holiday even! Mexico and Mexicans are beautiful. Or we were just that damn lucky.

We went for about 2 weeks (give or take, with respective 11 hours flights to and from Europe, so those are lost days) to Mexico-City and Guanajuato city.  Stayed at such nice B&B’s. And ate delicious Mexican meals.

MEXICO-CITY

Our first day there and we found ourselves immediately in a demonstration. In June the Mexican people had to elect a new president and this brought with it that people took to the streets to voice their concerns. The demonstration itself was a peaceful one with a lot of banners and such. But not at all disruptive, as I’d imagine. The fun part was, that because of this manifestation, many of the main roads were blocked so cars could get through. So you could walk in the middle of the streets and have a look around the city, without being run over. Excellent to visit this huge city. But we heard that the mayor of Mexico-City often had these car-less Sunday, also for pollution reasons. When pollution ratings are too high, this car-less day is put in action. Cool.

One thing I was so grateful for is that we bought the book Lonely Planet Mexico-City. I never was such a fan of Lonely Planet, cause so much text and no pictures. But I have turned into a big fan, because it brought us to such nice places and discoveries, that the other books we had consulted never even mentioned!

Mexico-City, you could say, is divided into boroughs (though it’s even more complex than that). We almost – such a pity – , almost did them all. If only we had more days!

  • Centro Historico – with the Zócalo or Plaza de la Constitución. Aztec Templo Mayor is a museum that is modern, extensive and in no way boring. It’s located just next to an open-air site which shows excavations of an Aztec temple. The Zocalo is the largest square in Latin America and it’s worth to go watch the military parade that puts up or removes the Mexican flag (which is humongous). Our B&B was not far from Colonia San Rafael, about 5 metro stations away. Ideal.
  • Chapultepec – has a park, a zoo, a castle with the anthropological museum in it and several other museums in it. It was actually the place we visited on our last day. We only did the park, cause that day there was a visit at the monument by a delegation from Britain and the security guys made it impossible to get where you wanted to go. So we stuck to the park itself. Its name in Nahuatl means grasshopper hill, and the grasshopper is represented everywhere: on the benches, bins, the market stalls… One tip: squirls look cute, but these guys here might jump you and take whatever you have. So look at them, but best from afar, you know what I mean?
  • Zona Rosa – well as you can guess, it is kind of the gay district, but also the more touristic area with shops, many restaurants and snack bars such as Burger King, Wendy’s…  It’s known as the Reforma district because it’s right along the Paseo de la Reforma Avenue, so you can easily walk from Chaputepec to the Zona Rosa, towards the Centro Historico by just following the Reforma Avenue.
  • Coyoacán – is so worth a visit! When you get there you almost have the feeling you’re in a small town and no longer in Mexico-City. It’s the place for students, art and museums. Here you have the Blue House where Frida Kahlo lived, which is now a museum. Inside you are not allowed to take pictures but in the gardens it’s ok.
  • Condesa and Roma – we did a walking tour from our Lonely Planet guide here, but a short one. The neighborhoods are on opposite sides of Avenida Insurgentes and again another feel to the rest of the city.

Art and archeology have dominated our vacation. Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo are national treasures and you will bump into their art and murals on many occasions throughout the city. Especially Diego’s work is to be admired in the Palacio Nacional just off the Zócalo. In the Teatro Nacional de Bellas Artes. There is a mural museum and even in the Secretaría de la Educación Publica, which houses the city’s public services: 3 story’s high and all along the court-yard murals, murals, murals.

I’ll leave you with some pictures of the murals.

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All the rowboats

Just got back from my summer vacation in Mexico, which was great! Hope to post on that experience soon.

I wanted to post this video by Regina Spektor first, cause I like it. I listened to the album in the record store and didn’t find it all too great, except for this song. I just like the topic of the song. Masterpieces wanting to be alive…

Enjoy.

“All The Rowboats”

All the rowboats in the paintings
They keep trying to row away
And the captains’ worried faces
Stay contorted and staring at the waves
They’ll keep hanging in their gold frames
For forever, forever and a day
All the rowboats in the oil paintings
They keep trying to row away, row away

Hear them whispering French and German
Dutch, Italian, and Latin
When no one’s looking I fetch a sculpture
Marble, gold, and soft as satin
But the most special are the most lonely
God, I pity the violins
In glass coffins they keep coughing
They’ve forgotten, forgotten how to sing, how to sing

First there’s lights out, then there’s lock up
Masterpieces serving maximum sentences
It’s their own fault for being timeless
There’s a price to pay and a consequence
All the galleries, the museums
Here’s your ticket, welcome to the tombs
They’re just public mausoleums
The living dead fill every room
But the most special are the most lonely
God, I pity the violins
In glass coffins they keep coughing
They’ve forgotten, forgotten how to sing

They will stay there in their gold frames
For forever, forever and a day
All the rowboats in the oil paintings
They keep trying to row away, row away

First there’s lights out, then there’s lock up
Masterpieces serving maximum sentences
It’s their own fault for being timeless
There’s a price to pay and a consequence
All the galleries, the museums
They will stay there forever and a day
All the rowboats in the oil paintings
They keep trying to row away, row away
All the rowboats in the oil paintings
They keep trying to row away, row away…

Anton Corbijn Inside Out (2012)

A new documentary film: Anton Corbijn Inside Out by Klaartje Quirijns.

I very much enjoyed it and if you are a fan of his photography and art work, it’s nice to get to know a little more about the man behind the camera. I’m not going to go into it more, because it’s a visual thing. What words could I use to convince you, you just have to see for yourself if the trailer makes you curious… which I hope.

If you haven’t yet, check out his movies Control (2007) (on Ian Curtis of Joy Division) and The American (2010) (starring George Clooney).

And you can check out some of my posts on Anton Corbijn too. 🙂

Dark Shadows (2012)

With much anticipation I went to see Dark Shadows. A Tim Burton movie, with Johnny Depp, Eva Green, Helena Bonham Carter and Michelle Pheiffer. I was curious.

After Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005) and Alice in Wonderland (2010), I set off to be amazed… but was I?

PLOT

18th century: the Collins family set off from England to the New World to set up a very successful fishing business. So successful, that the town was named after them, Collinsport. The Collins have a boy, Barnabas, who grows up to be, yes, a successful young man who is very pleasing to women. He fools around with Angelique, the maid, who falls madly in love with him. But he falls for the lovely Josette instead. But pity for him, Angelique is a witch who does not take rejection well. She puts a spell on his lovely Josette which results in her death, and as Barnabas throws himself from the cliff off which his beloved jumped to join her in death, Angelique transforms him into a vampire and gets the town’s folk to bury him in a coffin to spend eternity. The Collins are cursed from that day on…

Until Barnabas is dug up in 1972 …

OPINION

Hmmm… Though I did enjoy it, it did not really live up to my expectations. I had doubts when I went to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland, but came out of the theatre pleased and surprised. I did not feel so in this case. I had a Corpse Bride (2005) revival instead (I did not care for it, and even stopped the DVD in the middle, I must admit).

Johnny is again great. His Barnabas Collins is well played and the make-up makes him a bit creepy. His hands especially.

Eva Green, I adored. Her sweet looks (she’s got such big eyes!) make her evil witch portrayal convincing in the way that you can get why the town folk like her. And she does something with her voice… I can’t put my finger on it, but at times it makes my skin crawl. To me she’s a great actress and I hope to see her more and in interesting roles.

Helena Bonham Carter is again the fun character in this movie.

And Michelle Pheiffer was a good choice. I like the roles she’s choosing these past years. I was so surprised to see her in Stardust (2007).

So I don’t know. For me Dark Shadows didn’t deliver. The music was great, but the story… I got something like, “hey Barnabas, if you go around acting like a playboy, it’s bound to bite you in the sitting area.” Angelique might be a witch, but heck, she fell in love. She turned him into a vampire. It’s not like she killed him. So she must still feel for the guy, though heartbroken. She kept thinking she had a chance with him till the very end. She even offered him her heart! Man! She ripped it out of her chest to give it to him. So maybe that’s it. I didn’t entirely feel for Barnabas. In some way, I felt for Angelique and her need for him to love her back.

Mad Dog and Glory (1993)

For months I spent evenings flicking through channels in search of a nice movie, to sit in the couch and just enjoy a film with a good story. Nothing. Reality shows. Poorly written series. Infinite re-runs of sit coms that were funny last century, but have now lost their appeal because of the never-ending loop of airing.

So when does a nice movie play? At fricken midnight! Djeez. I do believe they do this on purpose.

Agony aside: it was a nice surprise to have flicked onto the right channel and at the start of Mad Dog and Glory, which stars Robert de Niro (Mad Dog – Wayne), a very young Uma Thurman (Glory), Bill Murray (Frank) and David Caruso (Mike) who displayed a more dynamic way of acting which is very much lost in his CSI Miami days.

PLOT

We follow Wayne and Mike, cops, as they are called to crime scenes. Wayne is a crime scene photographer, who has the ambition to be an artistic photographer but lacks the courage to follow it through. But also as a cop, he seems to lack much courage because he’s a guy who gets out-of-the-way of confrontation. He won’t easily draw his gun. Clearly shown when he enters a night shop where a stick up is going on. He negotiates with the criminal to take the money and scram, and only when the guy has run away does he take his gun to go after him.

It is at this stick up that Wayne meets Frank, the guy assaulted by the criminal. Frank is a mobster and invites Wayne at his club where he does stand up comedy. Frank fears Wayne is too afraid to undertake anything in his life to make it better or to follow his ambitions. So he sends up Glory, a girl in his debt who works as a bar tender in his club, to spend a week with Wayne and keep him happy….

OPINION

At last a good movie on TV in a long time. Robert de Niro is excellent, not like the parts he’s been playing in recent years. Murray is delightful, as expected. And it’s just a sweet story… a must see, I’m sure!

Predators (2010)

Don’t you also have those days when you wonder why on Earth you pay for television, cause nothing is ever on?

Luckily, we borrowed this weekend : Predators!

Not exactly a chick flick, but those aren’t what they crack up to be either (still wished I hadn’t watched half of Confessions of a shopaholic!!! – why, why did I watch that!). I did see the first one with Schwartzie (you know I mean Predator, right – there’s only one Confessions of a shopaholic  I hope and Schwartzenegger isn’t in it!) but that’s so long ago, I only remember: forest – shooting – ugly alien – ugly alien cloaked – mud. But that’s ok. I tend to forget plot lines with guy-movies. Though I never really stop being entertained.

So, Nimród Antal  directs and stars Adrien Brody (The Pianist), Topher Grace (That 70s Show), Laurence Fishburne (The Matrix) and Danny Trejo (Desperado) … from the actors I know in it.

PLOT

We start off by seeing Brody falling through the sky, seemingly unconscious but waking up from that state while falling. His parachute luckily opens in time before falling in a tropical forest. He’s not alone, because other parachute drop as well and soon after landing our man Brody gets fired at.

It’s clear that all persons in that forest seem to have come into it in the same way: unaware and by falling out of the sky. Each dropped person seems to have a military or ‘hands on’ background, or even a very questionable one. Except for one, who is a doctor (Grace). – I don’t know about you, but I immediately doubt on the ‘innocence’ of this doctor, who seems to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Not to spoil it for anyone, but I think it’s pretty clear by the title of the movie, all dropped are to be hunted like game and it’s either work together to survive, or survive each other.

OPINION

I was entertained. I liked Brody and what he did with his voice. Cause honestly, thinking about Adrien Brody you’d wonder if a skinny dude like him would survive an alien hunt, but he convinced me. But over all, there was limited gore, but enough.

What does annoy me, as in every hunted movie, is that there is always some character who cannot keep shut or quiet down, while hunted by horrible killers/aliens. Shut up! Don’t give your position away, you fool! Every time again!

And then one last thing I didn’t feel for is the credit song : Long Tall Sally by Little Richard. I mean, throughout the movie we had good and the right kind of music (I mean right by the look and feel of the movie), and then bam: end with a song that felt so wrong. I don’t care if  it was used in the original Predator film, it felt wrong. Like wearing a nice, sophisticated black dress, and then orange pantyhose and muddy sneakers under it. Just not done.

This must be the place (2011)

Director: Paolo Sorrentino

Cast: Sean Penn, Frances McDormand, Harry Dean Stanton, David Byrne, Eve Hewson, Judd Hirsch

INTRO

How to go about this? It helps to be a child of the 80’s.

Cause if you’ve never heard of The Cure (band), then you’d miss out on the striking resemblance of Sean Penn to Robert Smith.

If you’ve never heard of Siouxie and the Banshees (band), you’d miss out on the *wink* with Cheyenne and the Fellows.

And it helps also to know who David Byrne is, Talking Heads, and that “This must be the place” is a song by Taking Heads, sung by David Byrne and is mostly known under the title “Naive melody“.

But all that aside, this mustn’t stop you from going to see this movie… or at least stick trough it.

PLOT

Cheyenne is a retired pop star, in his fifties, living in Ireland and still looking like in his pop star youthful days, with nothing much to do than try to keep himself busy with ordinary things like going grocery shopping. You can say he’s pretty bored with himself. His beautiful house is clean and modern, and taken care of by his (professional fire-fighting) wife, who even takes care of the dog for him. A game of pelota in the empty swimming pool could be considered a highlight of an otherwise mundane day.

News of his father’s death has him going back to New York for the funeral. A father he hadn’t seen in over 30 years, and of which he now has the diaries filled with notes and sketches of. Cheyenne cannot make heads or tails of the writings, but soon finds out that his father had been on a quest for most of his life. And Cheyenne wants to honour that quest, now his father has died.

MY OPINION

I liked it. I didn’t know what to expect of it, especially because of the trailers. Maybe some people might get bored by the tone of speech used by Penn, but it fits with the character. A naive character, childlike, bored with how things are going… it fits.

There are some scenes that somehow feel like inconsistent, but it’s not that troublesome. McDormand and Penn work well as a couple: she’s in control and stable, he’s a bit subdued and needs a strong person in his everyday life.

The side stories are sweet and may not seem important (well, yeah, side stories), but they do add to how we should look at Cheyenne, as a troubled and sensitive person. He feels responsible for having contributed (though indirectly, and even that is debatable) to a most unfortunate event because of his gloomy songs, his influence. He doesn’t feel like an artist, not like he has done anything of importance. And what he can do for his father, even though maybe too late, is important. It validates him and sets things right.

I let each decide for themselves, but I enjoyed how the movie visually was presented (the style) and the actors that performed true to their character.

I leave you with a trailer:

Melancholia (2011)

What can I say about the new Lars Von Trier: Melancholia.

It stars Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg as sisters, as well as Kiefer Sutherland (24), Alexander Skarsgård (True Blood) and Stellan Skarsgård (Breaking the Waves) .

There are 3 parts to the movie: the intro, and 2 chapters on the sisters.

Now I could go and tell you everything on this movie and spoil it for you. But I prefer not to. I didn’t read up on anything before seeing it at the cinema. Not even a review. In my experience, that spoils it for me. And I must say, that this is a really good movie, if you let it come to you as it is. As majestically as the intro might be, I can say that the chapters on the sisters are very … earthy. And good acting. Even though it might have been Penélope Cruz who should have starred, Kirsten Dunst really merits her prize at Cannes. She is perfect for the part of Justine.

So I just leave you with the trailer, but do know, as ordinary as this trailer might look, the extraordinary the movie itself is.

So far, I have seen 6 movies by von Trier, each as different as the last one:

Maybe what happened at Cannes this year was a publicity stunt, I don’t know. It would just be a shame to me that someone would go that far. I think it’s all pulled out of context, as things usually are when you quote someone at a party. Melancholia is definitely worth seeing. It would be a pity if it wasn’t seen because of that.

Here is what I already posted on Von Trier: Lars Von Trier movies.

Summer vacation to Istanbul: part 2

Eminönü – part of Fatih district

We often went over the Galata Bridge, over the Golden Horn, to get to Sultanahmet – also known as the Old City. Especially in the evenings, when we got back from our excursions, we tended to leave the tram aside and just walk through the below deck of the bridge, which is filled with restaurants and bars. From the bridge, over the water, you get some great views in the setting sun. I especially liked how I could see the Galata tower stick out in the skyline, lit up so pretty.

Right off the bridge you enter Eminönü, where you can take ferry boats (at the cost of no more than a tram ticket fare) to Kadıköy and Üsküdar across the Bosphorus. At Eminönü you can see the Yeni Mosque, right off the shore and of course the Egyptian (or Spice) Bazaar.

I liked the Spice Bazaar, which is smaller than the Grand Bazaar (duh!). It smells great inside, of spices and the lovely Turkish delights (or lokum) for sale. We bought some to taste, cause it is difficult not to when it’s all around you. I must say, I’m a big fan of Turkish delights! Especially the ones with either the almond, hazel or pistachio nuts in them! Heck, I love them all!

But the Spice Bazaar doesn’t only sell spices and sweets, you will find other things there as well (pottery, bags, lamps…). Continue reading “Summer vacation to Istanbul: part 2”

Summer vacation to Istanbul: part 1

There hasn’t been much of a summer to speak of here in Belgium these last months, more like a fall-phenomenon, you might say. So what better place to soak up some sun than in Turkey, Istanbul!

When we booked it was a bit with fear in our hearts: “will we dehydrate? will we suffer from the sun?”, cause all advise on the net was avoid going in summer time (July/August) and preferably go in April or May. As you can see, I’ve lived to tell the tale.

I had a bit of a shock the day of arrival in Istanbul: the heat and the pollution got to me. I was ill on the first day. Don’t worry, I recovered and maybe it’ll happen to you as well. It’s just adjusting to a city with so many cars and traffic (and exhaust fumes) and in that heat.

Luckily, there are people selling water everywhere you look, and cheap too. Otherwise it would be cruel!

BEING MOBILE IN ISTANBUL

First things you notice: cars are rulers and pedestrians are worth nothing (slight exaggeration). The cars don’t even try to slow down when you cross the road. Real survival instincts are needed. They do stop at traffic lights, but there are very few of them.

Positive: they have a great public transport system. The metro stations are new, clean, spacious and handy. But it’s mainly the trams that will be precious to you, especially the T1, which gets you to most of the sites ( Eminönü district where you have the Spice Bazaar, transportation boats & Sultanahmet district where you find the Haya Sofia, Blue Mosque, the Topkapi Palace & Fatih district where the Grand Bazaar and the Suleymaniye Mosque are…). We used this line a lot… and I have a thing of looking for trams in every city we visit. I always must have a picture of the local tram. I don’t know… my dad worked in the public transportation services, maybe it’s that.

Continue reading “Summer vacation to Istanbul: part 1”