The evening call to prayer echoes across the city, carried on the chill wind. Our first day in Istanbul comes to an early-evening end as we drag jet lagged bodies off to bed.
It was a relatively relaxed first day to get us settled in. The journey from airport to hotel was done in record time as a quiet Sunday morning saw the normally busy streets of Istanbul devoid of traffic. A freshen up and lunch at the hotel was followed by a cruise up the Bosphorus – a great introduction to the city, seeing some of the key landmarks and starting to get the hang of where things are.
A visit to the military museum was next, providing a performance by the Janissary Band marching in full costume – drums, cymbals, bells, trumpets, pipes and singing – all designed to rouse the troops and put the enemy off. A quick peruse of some of the displays and we were all starting to run out of steam.
A great meal at the restaurant was topped off with a lively debate on Australian political parties, tax policies, school funding and other topics not normally considered as standard teenage conversation. But of course we are dealing with Simpson Prize winners – not your regular teenager.
Tomorrow will bring more excellent adventures in the old city and probably a move onto issues of global warming, constitutional reform and the like. For any SP 2010 readers, it was great to catch up with Alex Biggs who flew out on the same flight and is hiding out somewhere in this very hotel. She will be having a break in Ankara with her parents before heading off to Gallipoli to assist in various ceremonies and functions, which we know she does so well.