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Lost in Istanbul at midnight

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View Around the world ın 8 months on chrisvasil's travel map.

As mentioned earlier we had trouble getting back from the hostels where we considered staying the third night (and where the group was meeting) to our hotel. To get there was simple, we followed the tram tracks then the wall outside the Topkapi Palace. Getting back was harder, as there were a lot of hills (both up and down) and we wanted to avoid that by taking a slightly different route. That didn't really work out for us, and we ended up walking over an hour on the way back, compared with about 15 minutes on the way over.

I lost my sense of direction because I'm used to grid cities and the streets of Istanbul are winding. So we end up walking the wrong way. After awhile I figure we should be there by now, and we're on poorly lit narrow roads, so I ask the least imposing (a 60 year old cleaning the sidewalk in front of his place) for directions to Sirkeci, the district my hotel is in. He points the way I was going, so I continue. Awhile later I ask another, he also points the way I am going. Another while later, someone asks to see the map because he doesn't understand me, so I show him and he points the way I came from. A few minutes later Sue asks a police officer with an AK47 who is standing in front of a playground that is full of small children at midnight (that's right), and he gives the same directions, and says it is 2 tram stops away.

So we walk another while, up a hill, and notice it is smoky. As we are walking we hear a loud crash, too long and low-pitched to be a gunshot but otherwise similar. A block later we see a throng of teenagers where the blast came from, so figured it was kids playing with explosives or something like that. Then another blocks later (and to the right) we see several firetrucks and that 6 fire hoses are spraying into an apartment window. So that's what it was, an apartment fire. Locals are looking out of their apt windows, guess it's not every day they see this type of thing.

A few blocks later we are relieved to find the tram tracks, which we follow for 5 stops home. Longer than the officer said, but we made it back unscathed.

Posted by chrisvasil 12:55 Archived in Turkey Tagged educational

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