The Roquefort Files

Travels to the pub and back

July 24th, 2011

Two Weekends (#2)

A few weeks couple of months back I was in Istanbul, probably for the last time this year. Leigh is safely back in Edinburgh, and this was a final visit before her fellowship ended. I was there to function as Leigh’s arm candy at the end of term party (where’s that irony mark when you […]

March 26th, 2011

Roman around Istanbul

A few weeks ago I was over in Istanbul to meet up with Leigh. It was a good weekend: Istanbul is vibrant (yes, I used the term ‘vibrant’; this is what estate agents write when they mean ‘louder than you might think’), intriguing and infuriating all at the same time. And also there was a […]

October 25th, 2008

Istanbul redux

The coach from Göreme crawled back into Istanbul as the day was starting to warm up. Either I’d relaxed during the two days in Cappadocia or my initial culture shock had worn off, but the city felt far less hectic and more welcoming than it had done when we’d first arrived. It still bustled and […]

October 22nd, 2008

The Night Bus

I woke up on the 12-hour bus trip to Göreme just as the sun rose, somewhere maybe a hundred kilometres short of our destination. I could see a ridge of low hills to the left and arid farmland—desert, almost—to the right. The odd thing was that it just stretched out indefinitely to the southern horizon, […]

October 18th, 2008

Bazaar times

We walked through Sultanamhet Square between two huge mosques, one pristinely opulent and the other a patchwork of exposed bricks and mismatched minarets. They were both squat and massive, and looked like they’d accreted around their central domes rather than been designed as single entities. I found out later that the newer of the two […]

October 15th, 2008

Istanbul looks like the ’70s.

I thought this as we came in to land at Sahiba Gokçen. I don’t know exactly why, but there was something about the sprawling carpet of pale houses and terracotta roofs surrounded by dark blue water that made me think of over-saturated aerial photographs in travel agency windows, stock footage from Moore-era Bond films, or […]