Letter from Istanbul

To… 
I hope your return from Israel to home and work has gone well, and that everyone is impressed with your travel stories.
I am often a little flat on arriving in a new country, and had expected to be the same today, especially after saying goodbye to you at the airport. Which makes my travelling to many new places where I have no friends a questionable plan, but the joys of getting to know new places and people override the initial flat period. Up until now that has been my travel pattern, but arriving in Turkey something has shifted for me and I have felt energised to embrace the place from the beginning. Maybe I am finally getting into the swing of travelling, or maybe my friendships from Jerusalem have stayed with me in my pockets and helped me on with my journey. 
So although I did feel bereft after leaving you at the airport, by the time I landed I felt something else as well.
Anyway I made it to Turkey. And as I have been used to your company I have been talking to you in my head this evening and thought I would try to capture some of the place for you.
It was lucky that I had some buoyancy on arriving because getting to the hostel meant a very long walk with my backpack on down a street almost as crowded as the market-party from last night. I arrived just in time for the evening promenade. There was a happy vibe to the crowd but not quite so much reggae- and no one to help me carry my bag. 
market festival, Jerusalem
Also in addition to the weight and the crowd was the slight worry that I was not going in the right direction. This was not helped by the blank looks I received everytime I asked if I was going the right way. Eventually I put down my bag and squinted at the stupidly large map trying to find myself and I decided I would have to go back the way I had come, contemplating methods of transport that did not involve breaking my back. 
To my great relief at the last moment a man pointed out that I was almost there, except for the two flights of stairs I was home.  The hostel is different from Citadel – first of all it is not a stone labyrinth, but has actual hallways and doors you can stand up in- I am in the biggest dorm- which has fans, windows, some room to put my bag and a small table at which I am currently typing. There is no rooftop however so Citadel wins for views.
sunset view from my hostel rooftop in the old city, Jerusalem.
I am withholding judgment on the inhabitants for the moment though the man in his underpants with the pot belly currently walking about the room and grunting is not winning any points.  Surely the etiquette is mixed dorm- put your pants on! Especially when not particularly attractive.  I am very happy with the area I am staying, Galata Tower was a recommendation from one of my Aussie friends from Jerusalem. The vibe is quite young and relaxed- the relaxed vibe is greatly assisted by the lack of automatic weapons. 
Typical fashion accessory in Israel
 Here in Istanbul people seem to have been replaced guns with musical instruments and circus tricks.  There are plenty of nice looking restaurants around but tonight I just had an evening stroll and a fresh grapefruit juice. 
Istanbul.
Tomorrow will be for exploring the city and planning the next stage of my journey, I need to figure out the best way to get to Cappadocia to track down the Flamingos there.  
Goodbye for now from Istanbul and thank you for your friendship in Israel, looking forward to meeting again in the future. 
With love from Istanbul, Sandy.

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