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Showing posts from September, 2018

Sultanahmet Camii, Istanbul

After recovering from sleep deprivation caused by late night plane transfers and early arrivals, I walked up the winding Alemdar Caddesi back towards Sultanahmet Square in the early April setting sun.
With this area of Istanbul standing on a peninsula that rises up above the meeting of the Bosphorus and the Sea of Marmara, the low springtime sun was casting a brilliant orange glow across the skies, catching the tops of buildings and trees in its wake.
On reaching Sultanahmet Square, I saw that the warm colours were illuminating the minarets of the Sultan Ahmet Mosque and I reached for my camera. 
The Blue Mosque, as it is also known, is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site and dates from the 17th Century. Its distinct Ottoman appearance incorporates architectural features typical of both Byzantine buildings and traditional Islamic buildings. 
Unfortunately for me, the interior of the mosque was undergoing renovation and so I had to make do with wandering the sahn (courtyard) and the …

Atay Maghrebi: The Slow Train to Tangier

Marrakech station is an architecturally magnificent mixture of older Moroccan motifs combined with modern palatial glass windows. It shimmers in Marrakshi tones of gold and umber even in the half-light of dawn, slowly waking up as weary passengers emerge from taxis in all directions.

The first time I had taken the train from Marrakech, it was on the earliest departure of the day, shortly after 6am. I was shocked at how dark the place had been. A few low lights were on in the building, but the railway carriages had sat in perfect darkness.
Being on a tighter budget, on my first journey northwards in 2016 I had booked a standard class ticket and hadn’t bothered to check the length of the journey. Ten hours later, having run out of cash, my back had been aching and I was massively dehydrated. I wouldn’t be making the same mistake again.
This time I’d opted for a departure during daylight, albeit still early enough to accommodate the massive journey time, and I had treated myself to an…