May 13, 2006
A trip out of town
My sister and I decided to leave the hurly burly of Istanbul today and head for some islands just off Istanbul called Prince's Islands.
We purchased our tickets and jumped on the next available ferry out there. It was packed, mainly with tourists, but not the usual mix of Americans and French. These groups were Iranian, Japanese, Syrian and a few others. We sat next to this large group of Iranian girls who seemed to be having a great time, babbling away in Farsi. They were all very well dressed and seemed fairly sophisticated, and ,for want of a better word, western. It was certainly not the image of Iranian people we see on CNN or whatever. These girls were clearly out to party a bit as they had no head scarves on and would break into song every now and again. It was quite a fun trip.
There are 4 islands in the group but we chose to head for the biggest one as we only had a day to explore. The largest island is BŁyŁkada which is the kind of place Istanbuller's go to get away from the heat in the summer months.
BŁyŁkada has seen better days, it's rackety unsealed roads are full of huge old weatherboard Ottoman houses, mostly in a state of disrepair. There's not a hell of a lot to see here other than the a fantastic view from the highest of its two peaks. Most tourists were securing a horse drawn buggy to get to the top of the first peak and then either walk or get a donkey to the higher peak. Feeling energetic Cazz and I decided that it would be a nice walk.
After a decent walk to the first peek we were greeted by some sort of French/Turkish school's friendship music festival thingy. The loud speakers were blasting what sounded like Eurovision Finalists, think synthesised versions of Axel F and such from the Beverly Hills Cop sound track. Teams of teenagers were milling about causing trouble amongst the horses and carts. We tentatively set off for the second peak after seeing the incredibly steep ascent that awaited us.
Once we got to the top, a little weary, we were met with a spectacular view of Istanbul and the urban sprawl around it, as well as a much earned cold beer. Also up there was a small 6th century monastery which was still in use.
We made the decent soon after and caught the next ferry back to Istanbul, very tired and ready for bed.
A quiet day in Istanbul tommorow before we head off for Cannakale on Sunday.
Posted by rup at May 13, 2006 05:05 AM