On the Hippie Trail: Turkey

Yeni mosque Istanbul: Yeni mosque, as seen from the Galata bridge over the Golden Horn. This 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.

Road map TurkeyThe 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 border.

Istanbul: Süleymaniye mosque

card Nur Otel
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 (e.g. Wenger's Restaurant) in Connaught Place, New Delhi, and the Tibetan Blue Restaurant and The Camp, both in Kathmandu.

Nur Otel Istanbul

Room with a view in the Nur Otel. T
he 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 from Turkey since the nineteen nineties thanks to efforts of organizations such as WSPA.

Aya Sophia
Istanbul: Aya Sophia

Istanbul: bazaar

Blue Mosque
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)

Mount Ararat
Mount 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 Netherlands), 2006

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