26.06.2016 - 01.07.2016 29 °C
Took a taxi to new accommodation in Beyoglu, not without difficulty. 'The Loft' was hidden in a side street and down some steep steps. Fortunately we had contact numbers and our hostess, Arsu was able to guide us. We finally got to this small boutique hotel hidden amongst the beautiful old buildings in the French quarter of Istanbul. Inside we were led up narrow winding stairs to the top floor where we had a spacious bedsit apartment. Very comfortable. Finding our feet we took a trip up Iskitlal Cad to access some money. It was all very nostalgic but we were rather uncomfortable regarding the pronounced police presence so hurried back to the safety of our little hidden street purchasing some basic food supplies on the way. We found out later that the Gay Pride celebrations. Were about to take place. Our street was very steep, terraced down to the street below and lined with restaurants. The waiters were always trying to entice you in and went out of their way to meet you. One of them had already found out a bit about us and on our way back he introduced us to another New Zealander who had just arrived. We sat down with her and had a yarn and before long were joined by her partner who had flown in from the UK. We finished up ordering a meal and spending a very pleasant few hours with them. Thanks James and Leyla. Next day we set out to find the French Street, leading us through narrow side streets out into the busy centre of Cihangir. Imagine our surprise when we discovered that the street we were on was the French street of our memories. We spent most of our evenings there, sometimes for a meal, often for just a drink and to soak up the balmy unique atmosphere. While at 'The Loft' we fitted in all our other bucket wishes for our visit to Turkey. A visit to Galata tower which we never managed while living there, several trips down Iskilal including a meal at the Divan hotel where we had once stayed, another visit to Ortakoy, back to Kanyon for a final meal with Ipek and family and a final trip to Zekeriakoy which included a meal at Uzunya, the beach that Brian and Wayne used to bike to. During this time too we learnt of the horrific bombing at Ataturk airport which set our nerves on edge. On our final day we travelled out to the Ramada hotel, a stones throw from the airport. All was quiet there and it seemed as if life had returned to normal. Our check in at the airport was chaotic because of the crowds but well ordered. Needless to say we were very pleased to get away safely and head to our next destination Budapest.