Thursday, October 4

Turkey-Iran, Day Ten: Exploring Asia

Today was all about culture and company.

A lazy start had us setting out for an early lunch at Nusr-et, a restaurant named after an apparent globally phenomenal chef (saltbae is supposed to mean something here). If you hadn't noticed, my cynicism was clear and I was preparing myself to pay a lot of money for style over substance, all in the name of socialising. I'm glad to say that for once my grumpiness was misplaced and we all had a great time feasting on various meats - my mouth is watering just thinking back to it. It's possibly arguable that it was expensive (relative to the locals), but I was able to freely admit that it was all well worth it.

In our collective excitement we had booked tickets in advance for a Europa League match at Fenerbache, apparently an experience that was worth doing even for those of us who weren't football fans. Today was match day, and so we all headed to the Asian side of Istanbul to hang out in anticipation of kick off. Lacking in any real sights, Kadikoy was nevertheless the perfect place to chill out with coffees and food on a lazy day.

Mosque #21: T.C Kadıköy Müftülüğü Moda Camii

Unfortunately for me, a ticket mishap meant that I had to miss the match. In hindsight this was no big deal as I realised I didn't really want to anyway. Instead, I joined another friend in visiting the Ali Pasha Hammam back across the water in Karakoy. This was as much an eyeopener as any other experience I've had on this trip as I finally learned exactly why people go to spas and the like. As wussy as it sounds it was nice to be professionally pampered - the only down side was that it made me realise exactly how much of a waste of time and money our previous hammam trips were. For sure, a visit to Ali Pasha will always be required during any future trips to Istanbul (and that's if I wasn't going just for it in the first place).

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