It was a wet night, followed by a wet morning. Many of our fellow campers had put their macs on and braved the rain, which was quite heavy at times. We stayed indoors, had a shower and just relaxed. We knew we had to go out later but we'd wait and see if the weather improved a bit, and fortunately by early afternoon it did.

With macs and leggings on we headed out for the local community of Yenikapi where we intended to buy some lunch, baklavas, and  fresh fruit and bread. This part of the city is a bit rough as far as roads and pavements are concerned, otherwise pretty much the same as the rest of the city.

There appeared to be a distinct lack of tourists in the area, which probably isn't surprising, and we felt it gave us a better chance of paying what the locals pay for goods, rather than tourists.

After walking up and down for a while The Chef said it wasn't much fun given the weather and I was pleased to agree, so we bought four baklavas before buying lunch. We did go to sit down in a restaurant but found the menu was for full plated meals and that isn't what we wanted and so we went to the front window and ordered a chicken kebab take-away. Just down the road was a small canvas canopy hanging out over an office, so that's where we stood and ate.

Next it was the fresh fruit. The Chef was trying to use up the remaining Turkish lira, and the fruit almost took care of that. As well as bananas and tangerines we treated ourselves to a large punnet of large, juicy, delicious strawberries, just like the ones given to us yesterday by our South Korean neighbour. Then it was a crusty loaf of bread and home.

Gosh, those strawberries, when washed, were delicious with a glass of Prosecco, and the Chef tells me there's still some left.

The rest of the day has been doing housework and charging up battery operated items. The plan is to leave Istanbul at 05:00 tomorrow morning in the hope of missing the traffic. Once we're well clear of the city we can pull over and have a nap. To that end I'll sort out the tanks and unplug us from the mains hook-up later this evening. That way we'll hardly disturb the neighbours at all.

I'm glad we've come back to Istanbul, I love the atmosphere of the place. The back streets take me back to my days in the Navy walking around the streets of Singapore back in the late sixty's. It has though, been disappointing that yet again I didn't get to see inside the Blue Mosque, or that we didn't think of an answer to visit the Palace yesterday. Never mind, it's all been an experience, but we don't expect to come back again.

I would however recommend a short break here, maybe for about four days. I'm sure the likes of Ryanair have cheap flights, and the hotels should be reasonably priced, given that everything else is.

Tomorrow we are off to Greece. Unfortunately the weather over the next couple of days there isn't much better than here. Playing tourists on cloudy, cool wet days is no fun.



Well I'm glad 'Doc Martin' ended on a happy note and the family didn't leave Portwenn.

Late yesterday evening I could hear a noise outside and went to investigate, only to find a Volvo car on the football field doing speedy circuits towing on a long rope, a wooden pallet weighed down with rocks. The sledge was sliding around behind the car working the kiln-dried sand in to the newly laid artificial turf. No doubt back home somebody will have invented a very expensive machine to do exactly the same thing.

This morning was a cloudy start with a cool breeze. We're near the sea here, so it tends to be breezy until we go inland a bit to the city. The problem is in judging just what the weather and temperature will be when we get there.

The first thing we did was to take a wander down the road to the local Yenikapi  community. My word, we were amazed, just a stone's throw from us was a vibrant, busy, noisy place with plenty shops and stores, not much different to the city centre.

We picked up one large bottle of water and some bread for lunch, and decided that as it was going to be wet tomorrow we'd go back there for lunch and some shopping. We want to buy some fresh fruit and lunch with our remaining Turkish lira.

On our return to our 'campsite' we were confronted with our neighbour across the way trying to repair a roof light which had been smashed by a brick or something thrown up from the road. He was doing a pretty good job bless him, but his repair just wasn't rigid enough.

I searched all through my repair kit but failed to find my fibreglass resin, hardener and matting which I've always carried around with us, but without success. I was furious. I must have taken it off for this trip to save some weight, but now, here was a fellow camper who needed help and I was unable to offer it. One thing is for sure - it will be back n the vehicle for the next trip and remain so. Then I remembered that I had a couple of packs of a really useful product I've come across which is epoxy putty. So I went across with a pack of it, mixed some for him, showed  him how to use it and left him the rest of the pack, which was enough to strengthen the rest of the repair. And where were he and his wife from? ..... South Korea, and they'd driven here and we think we've travelled a long way.

After having lunch 'at home' we set out for the city, about half an hour's walk away.

Today we were determined to use the tram system to get down the Galata Bridge area, though we knew it would be problematic as we had watched other commuters yesterday buying their transit cards from a machine and seemingly having problems...and so it was. I won't dwell on it, but eventually we managed to purchase one ticket which we would both share by passing it to each other which is quite legitimate as each time the card is swiped the journey is taken off the card's credit.

Then on to the tram and down to the Galata Bridge area. Normally the tram runs to Kabatas, which was just a ten minute walk from the Dolmabahce Palace & Museum, somewhere we had both fancied visiting, but the tram wasn't going that far because there had been a building collapse over the other side of the 'Golden Horn' inlet, and we'd already established it was too far to walk there, especially after yesterday.

So instead we caught a ferry across the Bospherous Strait, over to the Asian side of the city. It was during that crossing, entertained by wandering minstrels, playing for tips, that a realised we could have caught a taxi to the Palace, but by then it was too late, it would have been closed by the time we got back. So it just goes to show, that no matter how often you wander, you never stop getting it wrong or learning lessons.

On the Asian side, it was nothing special, just more of them same only windier.

After an hour or so we made our way back on the ferry, with the wandering minstrels still playing away.

Then it was on to the tram which was very busy with most passengers wanting to squeeze in to the first two carriages. We were wedged in by the door and I told The Chef not to yield to anyone as there was just no more space available, then I got a push from behind in an attempt to create the space that individual wanted, only he was rewarded with a vigorous butt thrust from me which pushed him back on to the platform.

We arrived back home tired, though not as tired as yesterday when we must have walked miles in the heat.

This evening's meal has been provided by 'Parsley Pot', a company selling ready-cooked meals in trays which just need heating up. We've bought a few with us as standby's. Tonight it was liver and bacon, with the vegetables provided by us courtesy of a small tin of Tesco's peas a carrots.

The last time we bought them away I remember saying how the portion sizes were rather small, and so this time I paid an extra one Pound a meal to upgrade to the larger size. Unfortunately they were still too small. It's a Scottish company so I can only assume they're too tight fisted to open their sporrans to provide their customers with what they've paid for. I just hope they vote SNP........ chuckle, chuckle.

Tomorrow is forecast to be wet all day so we think we'll stay local buying lunch out and some fresh fruit etc to use up our Turkish Lira. Not as strong a currency as the Swiss Franc, but if you paste it to the walls, is cheaper than wallpaper.

This evening, whilst I was looking forward to tucking in to more of my Iceland Christmas cake (it cost eight pounds, and I tell you, it is both moist and delicious. You really don't need to go spending silly money buying a cake from elsewhere) which I didn't touch at Christmas and so have bought with me, washed down with a drop of Prosecco,  our lovely South Korean neighbour came across with a small bowl of delicious juicy strawberries as a thank you. So that was that, the cake can wait, but the Prosecco can't.

Once again, Happy Easter.


Today was the day that we'd look at the few bits and pieces that The Chef was interested in. Firstly we revisited the Sultunahmet area, because today she was armed with her iPad and was keen to take some pictures of her own.

We'd set off with puffa jackets on but it wasn't long before it warmed up and they had to be taken off and stuffed in to my backpack to be carried around for the rest of the day.

My word it was busy in town. It wasn't so much the tourists, but the locals out and about enjoying a warm sunny day. We spent a while around the same area as yesterday whilst we both snapped pictures. Everywhere looks so much nicer with a blue sky and sunshine. There were noticeably far more tour groups today, all following open umbrellas, flags on sticks and pretty poles, like flocks of sheep waiting to be led and fed with whatever knowledge their guides or shepherds think they can absorb.

After that it was off to Gulhane Park where we expected to see lovely displays of different coloured tulips. On the way we had to be careful to navigate the throng of people on the path whilst not stepping on to the road  and getting hit by a tram coming up behind us.

Oh dear, it was rather disappointing. The Chef was quite certain that there were far fewer tulips than there were the last time we visited, and I think she's right. There seemed to be far more grass than before. Of the tulips that were in bloom many were either a bit past their best, or burnt, perhaps by frost, and with numerous flower heads yet to open. Perhaps we were a week or so too early.

Next we soldiered on downhill towards the water's edge and the Galata Bridge area. There are lots of street food outlets there and that is where we planned to have lunch. But first, The Chef wanted to look at the Rustempasa Mosque. Apparently it has a wonderful display of ceramic tiles. Our timing was bad as the 'Call to Prayers' had just kicked off which meant access to tourists was quite rightly banned until it was all finished. Since we were the first to arrive, The Chef and I had positioned ourselves right next to the chain across the entrance barring our admission.

After the wailing stopped and all the dishevelled believers reappeared, and the number of pairs of shoes left outside dramatically reduced,  we knew the time to remove the chain was getting nearer, and so did a guide-of-sheep who was herding his flock towards  the chain. Well old mate, if you think for one minute you're bunch are going to get the jump on us you're very much mistaken - and so it was. Ours were the very first pairs of shoes to be placed on the allocated shelving before entering. I'd cracked off two or three pictures before the sheep got in.

The interior was far more impressive than the exterior, and if ever won the lottery and wanted my bathroom retiled, I'd send for the gang that laid those.

Another box ticked, so it was off to get The Chef's lunch. She loves fish (as does Doc Martin) and we'd passed a stall on the way to the mosque which sold really fresh-smelling mackerel (to me it is an awful smell), so she was soon fixed up with what she wanted - a smelly mackerel in bread with other bits whatever they were, but I did recognise the onions.

We sat on a nearby wall whilst she enjoyed it in the sunshine. After that we popped along to a nearby cafe where I enjoyed a kebab-thingy with 'lamb' in it, and we both had a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice. My kebab-thing and those orange juices cost three times as much as The Chef's lunch. Granted we got to sit down, but that was it, to the extent that when I asked if I could use the toilet I was told that the toilets are at the mosques. So that was it. The mosques have cornered the market in WC's.

So off I went with a five-lire note to spend wisely at the local mosque. With two liras in change(about 10p), I was able to do what was required and return to The Chef confident that I could survive the rest of the day.

Next we crossed the Galata Bridge, enjoying the views and ambience as we crossed. There were fishermen with their rods in the water all the way across, but nobody had caught anything of any consequence. The live fish on display, swimming around in buckets and the like, were only about two inches long. They wouldn't keep The Chef fed for one lunchtime snack.

We dragged ourselves around across the other side of 'Golden Horn' river which breaks off from the Bospherous Strait dividing the east part of the city from the west. By then we'd had enough. I put both cameras in my backpack and called it a day. We must have walked miles. So off home we went, determined to stop off for a coffee at Starbucks on the way.

Having set off this morning at about 11:00 we finally arrived home at 17:30, and most of that time was spent on our feet. We both agreed we'd pushed ourselves a little bit too far today, and so tomorrow we'll take things at a more relaxed pace.

Tonight's TV will be the final episode of 'Doc Martin' series ten, the final series. Will he take up that job in London as he intends, or will he change his mind at the last minute? All will be revealed later.

Well, it may have been Good Friday, but there wasn't a hot cross bun in sight.

PS. One day I will work out how to add titles to these pictures - in the meantime, just guess.


The alarm clock told us we'd had a lie-in, but really, that was down to the clock changes, well that's our excuse anyway.

Another opportunity for a lovely hot shower before we ventured out. After that it was to be a couple of Weetabix for breakfast. Unfortunately the 'milk' which The Chef bought from a shop a few days ago, turned out to be more of that glorified plain yoghurt stuff. I really didn't want to risk an upset to my system and so went without the Weetabix which were consigned to the bin. We've had this problem before on other trips. We've either found it impossible to by fresh cow's milk, or thought we had succeeded, only to find it was this runny yoghurt. I think they call it soured milk. Fortunately we are carrying a good supply of powdered milk for such eventualities, and so before we went out I made some up.

It had been raining a little overnight but had cleared up by this morning, though it was still very cloudy. Not having internet or phone access here we don't have the benefit of a weather forecast. So it was macs in to my backpack as well as wearing coats as it was rather cool.

The last time we were here it was for a week and so we didn't feel the need to dash about to see everything and so just wandered through the streets slowly making our way towards the 'tourist area' using the map from last time, freshly stuck together with Sellotape (or sticky-back plastic' if you're a 'Blue Peter' fan). If we seen anywhere selling them we will buy a replacement.

I was concerned that we would be without communications with the outside world for five days. As we wandered around I was considering buying a Kebabmobile data SIM to see us through.

We eventually came across the Grand Bazaar and so went for a walk around inside. It was busy, but not frantic, but then again it's a bit early for the tourist season.

Then it was down the road for a look inside the Suleymaniye Mosque. It was 'Call to Prayers' time and a number of mosques were holding services, even having their congregation spilling out in to the streets.

We came across an eats place on what I would describe as the main road through the area, and which had the trams running along it. We had a kebab each and a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice, all for eleven euros (they quite like taking euros here).

Eventually we arrived at what I would describe as 'the tourist centre', the Sultanahmet area  where the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, formerly a museum, now back in business as a mosque, with the Hippodrome separating them. A very nice area indeed.

When we were last here I had hoped to get to visit the Blue Mosque. The Chef had seen it on a previous trip, but the number of tourists was so great, thus the queues to view it so long, that I didn't bother. This time, I thought, I'd be in with a chance, what with it being so early in the tourist season. But oh dear! It was closed for refurbishment, opening soon, but that was no good to me. So the Blue Mosque continues to elude me.

On the way back I did spend some of my hard earned pension of a Vodaphone Turkey-only data SIM card. More than I wanted to spend, but I didn't want to remain out of contact with the big wide world.

The sun did eventually come out which was delightful, it makes such a difference to feel the warmth of it on your face.

We came back through some more back streets where The Chef remarked that once you leave the main roads it's like being in the Third World, and she's right. I think that's why I like being here, it is such a hugely different culture and lifestyle to our own.

Back 'home' we cranked up the MiFi to check it out, and success, we were back in contact with the outside world.

What we have noticed on this visit to our 'campsite' Yenikapi Caravan RV Park (N541.0042° E28.9561°) is how many of the vehicles, far from being new, are 'homes' to many young tourists, which is nice to see. They'll be the next generation of grumpy old gits.

The cunning plan is that tomorrow we are visiting the Galata Bridge area, and on Sunday  I'm hoping to visit the Dolmabahce Palace, which we can reach of a tram, providing of course we can work out how to buy the tickets.

Happy Easter.