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Welcome to Day 5 of Janet and Randy's Turkish Adventure 2015

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

Had a great night sleep - since the air conditioning was working, and it wasn't too warm to sleep.  Woke up at around 8:30am.  Jumped in the shower and got ready to head downstairs for breakfast.  Did the buffet again.  It was yummy.  This time we recognized some of the Turkish food that they had in the buffet. And the food we had on the tour was definitely much tastier than what was served at the hotel.

Istanbul street artThe previous night I hadn't finished the travel journal as I was quite tired and just went to bed instead.  So, this morning, I spent the morning finishing the journal and updating the online photo album.  We didn't have any particular plans for the morning as we had a photography tour starting at 1:00pm.

Randy decided to go out for a walk while I was working on the journal.  While he was gone, the power in the hotel went out for a couple of minutes, but then turned back on again.  I got a text from Randy saying that the power was out everywhere in the nearby neighbourhood.  This didn't prevent the shops from being open, as they brought out portable generators to power the shop.

He came back to the hotel and we didn't think of it any further.  Once I was finished with the journal, we went upstairs to the club lounge to have a beverage before it was time to go on our tour.

At 1:00pm, we went down to the lobby to meet our guide, Didem for our Street Photography Walk.  She told us that the power had gone out all over Turkey.  So, all the transit systems (except buses) were closed.  Yikes.  Therefore, we ended up taking a taxi to the start of our tour - in Taksim Square.

Janet on some stairsFor the next 5 hours we wandered around through main thoroughfares as well as back streets, looking for interesting things to photograph.  During this whole time, the power was out.  Some shops and restaurants had generators to keep the power on, but a lot of places just continued to do business in the dark.  Based on the number of portable generators, this must happen frequently.  However, it was difficult to hear Didem talk as there was the added noise of generators humming all over the place.

Our guide took us to a place to have some Turkish coffee.  I don't like coffee, so I had some Turkish tea instead.  I did try a sip of Randy's coffee, and it was quite strong (I think her words were "Holy Shit!").  Later on, we stopped to have some lamb kebab as a snack. No lights but luckily they cook using Gas/Propane.

During our wanderings, we came across the Hard Rock Cafe, so we went inside for Randy to buy some more guitar pins for his collection.  Didem took us through some shopping areas to take pictures, but we also found a few souvenir trinkets to buy as well.

The finale of the tour was to go to the Galata Tower and take pictures from the top.  When we got there, there was a queue of people, but it didn't seem that big.  But, we stood in line for about 20 minutes, and hadn't moved very far.  With the power outage, the elevator inside was not operating, so apparently everyone was taking the stairs.  But, since the line was barely moving, I imagine that everyone was backed up all the way up the stairs.  Since I didn't want to be standing on some narrow stairs, moving up 1 step every 5 minutes, we decided to bail on taking pictures from the top of the tower. One of the gals standing in the line in front of us approached us after we decided to bail and suggested that we come back to see it as it was supposed to be amazing views.  We'll try the next day.

Randy on the rainbow stairsInstead, we asked Didem to take us to some colourful rainbow stairs that we had seen from the tram.  So, we trekked over to where the stairs were at.  It was definitely worth the walk, as it was really cool to see.  While walking to the stairs, we saw that the trams were working again.  However, about 10 minutes later, we came across a tram that had stopped in the middle of the track and people were forcing the doors open to get off.  So, obviously they were still having issues with the power.  So glad we weren't underground in the metro or on the funicular.

Don't forget to check out the photos Janet took on the photography tour.

After we were done taking our pictures, we walked with Didem to the Kabatas ferry terminal.  Normally we could just take the funicular to connect to the metro.  But, with the intermittent power outages, we thought it would be safer to just take a taxi back to the hotel instead.  At least on the tram a person could get off if need be - but on the underground funicular and metro, a person would be trapped until the power started up again.  Dark and in a tunnel... no thanks !

Got back to the hotel around 6:30, and dropped off our stuff in the room before heading to the club lounge.  We wanted to get up there to catch the afternoon appetizers.  This time they had small steaks and potato croquettes as the hot items.  Sweet.  Since we had the lamb kebabs late in the afternoon - the club lounge snacks were going to be our supper.

According to Randy's FitBit, we had walked over 17,000 steps during the day.  Our legs and feet were a little sore, so we headed down to the pool for another soak in the hot tub.  We also popped into the steam room for a bit.  Then it was back to the room to relax for the rest of the night.

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