Istanbul is forever

Have you ever been to Istanbul, or anywhere in Turkey? I had apprehensions about visiting the city of Istanbul after the warnings from friends and family at home. They were vague, useless warnings, but I was nervous nevertheless. So, when I got to Istanbul, I was happy to find that splurging a little cash here to feel good was not just great, but fantastic.

I was picked up from the airport by a plush car from the hotel and taken to a swanky place. I’ve saved up long enough, so I didn’t feel guilty about the cold drinks on arrival. I’d done some research before travelling to the city, so knew I should be dressing conservatively to avoid unwanted attention (ugh) and I learnt thank you or “tesekkür ederim”, as it always pays to be polite!

However, I was slightly disappointed to hear how regulated gambling is in Turkey, meaning I couldn’t go to a casino very easily and enjoy playing cards with the locals. Instead, I made do with Agent Istanbul online which is worth checking out.

I didn’t let the lack of a casino bother me too much. Instead, I pulled on my walking shoes and met a local guide who showed me some of the hidden delights in the city. I tried as much food as I could get my hands on and it was great being with a local who could order for me and made bartering a whole lot easier.

I learnt that it’s illegal to make any disparaging comments or jokes about the government, the Turkish flag of the military. I learnt this when looking at the Atatürk monument. I also learnt that I shouldn’t be taking photos of people without asking for their permission first – oops!

After a long walk around the city with my guide, we headed to a small tea place where we drank a lot of apple tea. Delicious! I’ve never tried any other tea than plain, black tea before – this was surprisingly tasty. I chatted to my guide about our interests; travel, casinos, friends. I think he’s really cute, but I won’t be going there!

After my great experiences with the tour guide today, I might either brave the city alone or ask him to show me around again! My new plan for the week is to visit a “hammam” or Turkish bath, a local historical bazaar and Suleymaniye Mosque.

Have any of you visited Istanbul? I’d love for you to get in touch and give me your tips. I’m heading to bed now, but not before I finish playing on Agent Istanbul online. I might try and buy a book of facts about the city tomorrow too as I would like to learn some of the language, about the history and maybe extend my stay. I can’t stay in this fancy hotel for much longer – my budget will run out. Where do you think I should head to next – I quite fancy seeing some of Asia soon!

Visiting Paris

Bonjour! I’ve been in Paris now for two weeks, written home to my family on the back of a Moulin Rouge postcard, and am now updating my readers here on my blog. I don’t love Paris as much as I loved London – the men are pushy, the food is expensive and the streets really do smell funny – but I’ve picked up a few French words and met some wonderful German girls who I’ve been spending all of my time with!

We walked from one end of the city to the other – we scaled the stairs of Montmartre, visited Montparnasse, ate with artists and drank copious amounts of wine in the Jardin du Luxembourg. The girls I met are actually au pairs which sounds like a fantastic job – imagine looking after children all day and then partying in Pigalle all night!

Whenever they had to leave me, I’d find myself a typical French cafe and sit, reading my book and looking chic. However, if you ever meet a French man, then make sure you know how to say NON. I’ve been approached regularly all week. It’s done wonders for my confidence, but I really don’t want to be scaling the Eiffel Tower with a man who doesn’t know when to shove off.

John has also been texting and calling all week. I picked up accidentally and the German girls and I erupted into laughter when he said he thought I was still in London! Like I said, I’m out of there as soon as I meet someone I like!

So, this week I’ve visited;

  • Le Palais Royal – stunning French architecture at it’s finest. Too bad I met the German girls here and spent more time laughing with tears pouring down my face, not noticing the architecture. What a great night!
  • The Louvre – so cultured, but there are far too many tourists in this area of Paris!
  • The Eiffel Tower – I don’t like heights very much so I kept my feet firmly placed on the ground. But, staring up into the sky, I can only imagine the beautiful view!
  • Arc de Triomphe and Champs-Elysees – I spent a lot of time avoiding tourists but the grandeur of these places took my breath away.
  • Finally, I discovered a slightly less touristy area and headed to a place surrounded by hipsters – KB Cafe. Here, I heard mainly English being spoken which was nice after a week of a lot of French and German!

Au revoir my readers, I’ll speak to you soon! I’m leaving Paris from the Gare du Nord and heading to Prague next, wish me luck!

One Night in Prague

I only had one night in Prague and, let me tell you, I was sad to see the back of it! I left Paris and messed up my train times completely. In the end, I had to take a bus instead. This was a horrible situation to be in, but thankfully, I slept on the floor of my German friend’s apartment.

Being alone can really suck, especially on a 14 hour overnight bus ride, thankfully I had my trusty European data allowance and played online casino games most of the time! But, as soon as I stepped off the bus, I was in love with the idea of Prague. I booked myself into a beautiful hotel, dropped my bags and headed to the main square. Here, I was astounded by the beauty. It was getting dark when I arrived, so I grabbed myself a funny little funnel like cake from one of the many stands and walked around the centre of the city until nightfall.

I didn’t get a chance to visit any of the casinos, but I did get to eat amazing goulash and more of those delicious cakes. What are they called, readers?

I went to the Hemingway bar alone in the evening. The cocktails here were great. I always wondered what to do when I was in a bar alone, especially as I was seated, but thankfully, I was sat next to a group of women. We got chatting and let me tell you – this one night in Prague was something special. It ended with three people I barely know sleeping in my bed with me, it was a squeeze but we were so exhausted after a night of drinking and wandering around.

During my one night in Prague, I saw a lot more than I was expecting. I checked out the; Franz Kafka monument, the beautiful bridges, we hiked around the city and were whooping and laughing all night.

Have any of you readers had a good time in Prague? Let me know what you got up to! I didn’t take many photos as the lights were dark, but I want to see some touristy pics!

Why London is the place to be

 Hey folks! I’m back from London and all I have to say is – you HAVE to go. The city is absolutely awesome. Casinos galore, museums everywhere, culture right in front of your eyes and better yet – all the best foods from around the world, delivered right to where you STAND.

I spent a few days in Grosvenor Casino – The Victoria London. I met a guy called John and we hit it off. I chose this casino because it had a rating of 4.7 on Google Maps – so I hopped on over and those punters before me weren’t wrong! But, after I met John, we went to a steak house and…

So, the next morning, I walked through Hyde Park and was playing a few online casinos to try and win some cash for the rest of my travels. I admired the beautiful greenery, tucked away in the heart of a city – you’d never know. The Serpentine lake is also a beautiful addition, with Londoners sitting all around, I almost felt like one of them!

After Hyde Park, I did a little tour of the city, I made it as far as St. Paul’s Cathedral before I had to pop into a Starbucks (home comforts!) and grab a cold latte macchiato. Delish! John was texting and calling all day, but I don’t think it’s worth pursuing. Afterall, why catch feelings, when you can catch flights?

So far, London is THE place to be and perhaps my favorite European city. As I said before, you HAVE to go. Here’s my summary of top places to go in the city:

Hyde Park
Grosvenor Casino – The Victoria London
St. Paul’s
The British Museum (it’s FREE! Thanks Britain)
Monmouth Coffee
Palace of Westminster – this whole area was great to explore
Westminster Cathedral