Parcs and Galata and Ali!

Us and Ali
Originally uploaded by apes_abroad.

Another quite good day in Istanbul yesterday.

We could have our first propper self-prepared Turkish breakfast since we got some kaymak to go with our bread and honey. Then decided to wander up the Bosphorus, which turned out to be harder than I expected. most cities on a body of water have a walking trail along that body of water so you can stroll lazily past the city enjoying both the water and the city. Not so with Istanbul. The walk is constantly being interrupted by dead ends, ferry terminals, and palaces. The ferry terminals I get. But the dead ends shouldn’t exist and the palaces should open their seaside walk to the public. So we did manage to walk noth, if not on the Bosphorus. And we walked past a lot of palaces and ferry terminals. One of the palaces, Çırağan Palace, was turned into a hotel in the late 80’s after a fire gutted it.

It looks pretty amazing from the outside. The palace was constructed in the late 1800s and is all baroque and impressive. I’ve never seen a hotel that used to be a state palace. It feels quite wrong and aparently the city took a lot of flack for letting it happen. But there are _so many_ palaces that I can see it being hard to keep up all of them. In fact we took a walk in the nice park behind the palace which also contains another palace.

The park is really nice. It used to be the royal hunting grounds until the city krept its way out there at which point they put a wall around all 25 acres of it. When the palace went up across the street they built a bridge over the road so the Sultan and guests could get back and forth without having to deal with any lowly mortals. The park contains fountains and cafes, views of the Bosforus, a whole big ass palace, and a few excerise areas. The excercise areas were the most amusing! They were full of these crazy machines, most of which seemed to have little to do with excercise.

One of them let you swing your legs back and forth. But it was on a nicely oiled joint so it took no effort to swing your legs back and forth. There were these dinner-plate-like-things with handles on them so you could spin them in circles… but it took no effort to spin them in circles so you just looked like a crazy person spinning dinner plates in circles. We saw a few head-scarf-trench-coat clad women “excercising” on one of the… I don’t even know… “walking simulators”? So mabey if you are dressed in such an impractical manner this is about as close to exercise as you can get.

From there we had to hot-foot it to get lunch because we met Ali Bati, a turkish game author, for lunch. How cool is that? The indie game scene has made me friends in countries I haven’t even been yet! Lunch was great except for the food. Ali is in his last year of University and has released two flash games: Screw Effect and Legend of Kupapa. Both of which I suggest you play. We talked about Turkey and Canada and a lot about games. Which is always fun. Hopefully we’re going to make a dinner happen in a few days with some more local authors and I also want to do a work-day sometime. I also discovered how hard it is to buy your own lunch when you go out with a local here. I owe you one Ali!

We lunched in Galata tower which has a crazy amazing view. The tower was built by the Genoese for… I’m not actually sure what reason. But I’m glad they did. It’s the highest point in the old city and you can see everything from up there. It’s an even more impressive view after you’ve been wandering the cramped maze of streets surrounding it. Ali gave us some history of the tower and we talked about Istanbul architecture while we had a good view of so much architecture. I decided that Istanbul is the opposite of Vancouver. Cramped, storied in history, chaotic, and located on almost exactly the other side of the world. van = 128 W longitude, Ist = 23 E, 128 + 23 = 151. 180 would be exactly on the other side of the world.

So it was another pretty excelent day. Today, I’m not sure what our plans are. I wrote a little but of code already, which I’m quite pleased with. We’ll see where the day takes us.


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