On the Hippie Trail: Turkey
mosque, as seen from the Galata bridge over the Golden Horn.
magnificient city was one of the hot spots on the Hippie Trail. A perfect place to stay for a couple of weeks. My
first visit there, was in the pioneering days of 1962.
bridges that now connect Europe and Asia did not yet exist. So, I took
a ferry from Istanbul to Kadiköy on the Asian shore of the
Bosporus, where I boarded a train that took me to Erzerum (East Anatolia) in three days. From there, I travelled by bus to the Turkish-Iranian
Istanbul: Süleymaniye mosque
Nur Otel (Sultanahmet area), the best hotel in
it's class in Istanbul. I
prefered the Nur to the Gülhane, which was probably the most popular hotel among Hippie Trail travellers.
Google Streetview shows a recent picture of the Nur Otel structure, though it seems not to be a hotel anymore. Similar accommodations where
I stayed were the Hostel Baghdad and the Amir Kabir, both in Tehran, the Noor Hotel in Kabul, Mrs.
Kolaço's in New Delhi and Mr. Singh's in Kathmandu.
Popular meeting points along the trail, where you dropped in for a bite and a chat, were the legendary Pudding
Shop in Istanbul. the Khyber Restaurant in Kabul, several hangouts
Restaurant) in Connaught Place, New Delhi, and the Tibetan Blue Restaurant and The Camp, both in Kathmandu.
Room with a view in the Nur Otel. The view over the medieval city walls on
the Sea of Marmara was great. The only nuisance were the commuter
trains running by the hotel during daytime. Note the 'dancing bears'
walking on the boulevard below. This cruel practice has been banned
since the nineteen nineties thanks to efforts of organizations such
Istanbul: Aya Sophia
Istanbul: Sultanahmet or Blue Mosque
Istanbul: sunset over the Golden Horn
Bosporus: the strait between Europe and Asia (seen from the European shore)
Haydarpasha Terminal Station on the Asian shore of Istanbul
(Photograph: Far-gh / Wikimedia Commons)
Ararat, a dormant vulcano (5137 metres high) in
East Anatolia near the Soviet (Armenian) and Iranian borders.
The Bible suggests that this is the final resting
place of Noah's Ark: "and on the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat" (Genesis 8:4).
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© Hans Roodenburg (The
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