Espen's travel home photos

Leaving Norway and entering the world

An open wound after an infection on the back, two hours sleep after many hours cleaning the apartment, and a very nice get-together with good friends a couple of nights before; I was far from ready for the journey that I have planned for many months. The winter had finally found its way to Oslo and my cancellation insurance was creeping out from the back of my head. The descending flight to Istanbul changed it all. The good feeling somehow spread out in my body. Unknown from what reason; the weather was cloudy, the landscape boring and the view was out towards car repair shops and highways.

Istanbul seems to be the perfect place to start. An exciting and authentic mix of cultures at the end of two continents with all their legacy. The narrow streets to the hotel is a labyrinth just a short 60 m stroll from the crowdy main street.

A suite the size of my apartment back in Oslo was probably a bit too luxurious for a backpacker but yet a wise choice when my open wound requires me too sleep on my stomach and I need a clean bathroom and big mirror for changing the band-aid. Misafir Suites is an excellent place for escaping the noise and relaxing after a busy day in Istanbul. The friendly personal service makes me glad I choose this place over a normal boring 5-star hotel.

The infamous Turkish sales pitches in the street and limited Norwegian greetings from restaurant owners is thankfully not present. My choice of area in this bustling city was well-planned. Beyoglu is just across the river from the main tourist area where the blue mosque and the backpacker hostels occupy small alleys behind the Four Seasons. The Beyoglu area and the surrounding Cihangir area has been modernized the last years and now ex-pats and artists have moved in. I am looking forward to exploring the area tomorrow. Currently only the main shopping street is added to my list of explored territories.

Sitting alone in a pub with loud music and filled with talkative locals. I am a bit worried of becoming lonely on this trip. Quasi-friendly persons on the street who wants me to eat in some restaurant only makes the feeling of loneliness growing. As does my scepticism towards strangers. It is not easy finding good people in a new city where everything is unknown.