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Cock & Toenails II: A Farewell to Europe

My Friends,
   Turkey still goes well.  Havent moved around too much since last I wrote but have seen a lot.  We got it in our heads that we wanted to walk to the Bosphorus Bridge…

…pictured here being large and imposing…
…and cross it by foot into Asia.  However, we found out after walking 2.5 hours that it was cars only, so we had to hop a bus or take a ferry to Asia.  We opted for the latter and took a boat ride across the strait.  Once across we proceeded to do my fave kind of traveling:
1. Pick a direction (preferably away from touristy spots)
2. Walk in that direction til you are lost
3. Find your way back
4. ???????
Finding a mosque which was inconveniently walled-off I climbed the wall in order to take a gander at the devout.  Feeling all badass perched on the wall and keeping a vigil from above, I took this opportunity to perfect my Batman pose.  
   The next day we didn’t travel quite as far but spent the day wandering nearby Topkapi Palace.  The former home of the Ottoman sultans and seat of what was once the most feared empire in te known world, we found it to be quite pleasant.  In particular, the treasury bears mention for the sheer quantity of diamonds, rubies, emeralds, gold, etc. which it contained.  But the harem was spectacular for its fantastic architecture and tiling. 
   In the few days since seeing the palace we also saw the art museum, shopped in the bazaar and feasted like kings.  Now typically, I tend to pass through cities within a day or two of arriving, and therefore miss the tourist attractions.  But in light of the 9 days we have in the city we have really plumbed the depths of what the city has to offer.  I mean that both figuratively…
The Basilica Cistern
…and literally.  And I have definitely made the right choice regarding which city to spend a little more time in.  Istanbul has so much to offer to the casual tourist, the student of Mediterranean history,
…and of course this guy,
that I would have regretted passing through after a day.
   As for my departure Monday morning, the plan of attack is to take the metro-tram as far South-East of the city as it will take me and then  hitch-hike to Syria in the fervent hope that they allow me into the country.  From there I will make haste to Lebanon, and Beirut specifically where I wll crash for a week with some friends before getting the ball rolling again.  I am apprehensive about going into Syria especially in light of all the unrest going on there right now, but I already regret skipping Algeria and Morocco out of some vague sense that bad people lived there and I dont want to make that same mistake again. 
   Essentially, any place is dangerous and any place is safe.  By using sense of a slighly-better than common variety, I am hoping that I will not look so tempting when fate comes a prowling.
Stay Thirsty,
-Andre Guantanamo

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