Iso has arrived in Istanbul. We drove to the airport to get her, crossing the Bosphorus bridge from the European to the Aisan side of the city. The view was amazing. At the end of the bridge is a toll but there was no obvious place to pay by cash. We sat at the barrier causing a massive queue. Finally a young Turkish guy came and asked us if we spoke English and then used his electronic prepaid card to scan us through. We continued our journey with no furher mishaps.

When we got back to Istanbul we checked into our new hotel ‘The Empress Zoe’ which was directly opposite from where we had been staying for the 2 previous nights. We felt a little guilty about this but the new room was amazing. It is a suite so it was like having our own little flat. The bathroom is hamam style with all heated marble, which made the whole flat extremly warm.

On Iso’s first night we went out for mayhanes, this is a way of dinning  which is traditionally associated with getting absolutley wrecked on raki (aniseed-based drink like ouzo) whilst eating meze. We got a taxi to the Beyoglu area of Istanbul and  were totally ripped off by him. We tried to argue but he changed his meter and got quit agressive.

We then headed to the Nevizade Sokak which had been recomended as a good place for mayhanes . The whole street was filled with eateries serving the same thing. There were lots of men approaching tables trying to sell you various bits and bobs like bottles of western alcohol and lottery tickets. It was extreemly lively and a great place to people watch. We did as the locals do and ordeded a bottle of raki to share, then they brought out a huge tray with loads of little sample dishes on it for you to chose your meze from.

After our meal we walked down the Istanbul equivilant of Oxford Street and I bought  turkish sweets to take away for all of us. Alan had baked quince with cream and Iso had something that was like sticky toffee pudding but much sweeter and lighter whilst I had baclava.

We then went down a side street and went into a sweet little bar to have cocktails. Iso and I looked around and saw there were no women but this did not bother us as there had only been one other where we ate. Then a large sceen was rolled down and they started playing a Madonna concert and blaring Kylie tunes from the sound system it became apparent that it was a gay bar. This was probably a good thing as they were really relaxed and one guy was really chatty and wanted to be our best friend. Then we headed home without getting ripped off this time.