|Since I didn't leave until mid morning for the airport I had one last chance to wonder around Sultanamed or Old Town for some last minute pictures and a Starbucks latte. Being on the street early is interesting as I saw the man piling on the chickens to cook for doners - 100kg of chicken goes onto that skewer and cooks all day long. Another sight, making pitas in an open fire pit. The guy rolls out the dough an puts it over a round slab and then slaps it on the inside of the fire pit before reaching in and pulling it out.
Turkish airport security was also interesting. I seem to set off the machine both times and got thorough pat downs right to the bra. Other than that the trip was uneventful. Turkish airlines was quite nice and even served a lunch in the hour and a half flight. I sat next to a Bosnian couple returning from shopping in Istanbul. He is a professor of history at the university. It was very pretty flying in as it was a bright green wherever you looked and then in the distance some very high snow capped mountains.
No hotel transfer when I arrived so into a taxi. Trust me the taxi was quite different than Turkey and as we were driving into the city you could see a lot more beat up cars than the new models in Turkey. As he drove up to this little alley way and said this was my hotel I went oh oh. Much to my surprise the hotel turned out to be very charming. It is ultra modern in a very old part of the city. It even has a little kitchen area, a lovely massage shower and heated bathroom floors. Free WiFi, laundry, snacks and a TV that has more English channels than CNN. All for 50 euros a night.
Ti was 29 degrees here today. I may not be needing too many warm clothles from here on. It doesn't take long to see the extreme differences to Turkey. The city is about 500,000 and so much quieter. I am in the old town area and it is very charming. There are shops, cafes, and people milling around. That said, there are a number of similarities to Turkey - I'm seeing the same things for sale - jewellry is similiar, lots of scarves (will be able to set up my own store when I return), knock off purses and other souveniers, including Turkish Delight. Much to my surprise the food is also similiar. They don't believe in vegetables however and it is a lot of meat and bread. I am so tired of bread I may never eat it again after I return home.
Unknown to me - May `1 is a holiday so lots is closed and finding a place to change money was a challenge. Tomorrow I am going on a free walking tour - the reviews on it are great. Then I guess I'll figure out how I get to Croatia.