We took an all too brief trip to Istanbul to celebrate our anniversary. We did the usual whistle-stop tour of Sultanahmet (the old city). Haghia Sophia still leaves me in speechless awe every time I gaze up towards the magnificent dome that seems to float effortlessly above. Onwards to the curvaceous Blue Mosque built a millennium later. Better outside than in, the seductive silhouette of mosque and minarets defines the famous city skyline. Domed out, we rested outside in the lovingly tended park and endured the call to prayer in thunderous surround sound.
We spent the evening in Beyoğlu, the increasingly hip shopping and entertainment district that looks proudly down on the old city from across the Golden Horn. We expensively dined along Istiklal Caddesi, the broad pedestrianised boulevard that runs like a spine through the area. After settling the extortionate hesap, we ventured out into the night in search of a minority interest inn to quench our thirsts and assess the locals. Unsurprisingly, the Byzantine gay scene is infinitely superior to any other in Turkey. We supped in a couple of minor league joints before ending the night in the appropriately named Tekyön (One Way), a large pulsating dance bar. It might have been London or Paris, except the disco tits on display were attached to young carefree Turks rather than cute Colombians. Discouragingly, you know you’re getting old when, like policemen, the competition is getting ever younger. We left the boys to their play and headed back to our hotel for a cocoa.