After our late night in the city, we woke from a good night’s sleep to arctic rooms with the A/C cranked to the max. Steve managed to wash all of his clothes in the sink. Somehow, these clothes, which he generously decorated the inside of the limo with, did not dry even in 37 degree heat due to the humidity.
Jacks legs have changed colour again to a dark maroon tinge; the dark patches have joined up across his calves. We start to doubt his chances.
We set off to look around Istanbul for a pharmacy, breakfast kebabs and the sights. In the Blue Mosque area we spent a long time trying to find an open pharmacy (most were closed because of the national holiday), asking various shop owners who begin to point in the same direction, towards an ‘Eczane’ specialising in skin ointments and Viagra.
Jack applied his cream and we walked through the never-ending heat. Why did nobody warn us about this??!! At 2pm, we enjoyed breakfast at “the most cheaper” Turkish kebab restaurant in the area. The owner did us a great deal by giving us free bread and yogurt.
In search of fake merchandise and A/C, we walked to the Gran Bazaar. Unfortunately, it turned out all of the Bazaars were closed due to the holiday. The Blue Mosque however was open but we only lasted 10 minutes inside because even in the shade, the sun’s reflection from the marble burns the skin. We eventually found a street merchant and acquired 5 pairs of ‘faybans’ after some amateur haggling.
By then, it was getting late in the day and we left Istanbul after an hour of driving towards Ankara and Cappadoccia for the ballooning and sights.
Jacks legs have deteriorated further in the heat with more swelling and larger red patches. We begin drawing straws to see who will push his wheelchair.
All of the possible free camping spots looked dodgy in the dark. We were made aware that we were still on the outskirts of Istanbul by the plethora of activity, including (but not limited to) packs of stray dogs, rubbish littered everywhere and people frolicking on the main roads in the pitch black.
After a few near head on collisions from crazy drivers who only veered out of the way at the last possible moment, we decided to cut our losses and find the cheapest motorway Otel in the area. The first one was more expensive than central Istanbul and the receptionist wouldn’t negotiate even though everything inside appeared to be under serious renovation.
We moved on to a similar Otel and Ollie and Jack tried out their haggling skills again and manage to take 30 Turkish lira off the price in 20 minutes (not very impressive). In the meantime, due to the copious amounts of tea drunk throughout the day, the ice cream guys decided to take a leak in the car park of said hotel and were caught by security. We will never forget the eerie giggling and bow-legged, hand-on-fly jig Cosmo and Laurence danced before they dived through the Ice Cream Van windows shouting “Drive!”
While they escaped to slyly hide around the corner, we used the hotel’s WiFi to book what we thought was a nearby hotel. All the while, the guard continued to circle the limousine in an ovular fashion. Eventually he approached us with back up: “Problem. Police”. We eventually left, en route to our booked hotel.
We were a few hundred metres down the road before we discovered that there is more than one Dȕzce in Turkey. The non-refundable hotel was actually 200km away! During this debacle, the ice cream guys had discovered that they only have 3 days to get into Russia otherwise their visas will not be valid.
With few options left, we decided to stay at the first hotel, the only bonus being the free WI-FI. We slept on empty stomachs once again.