My Trip to Europe. Day 2. Sunday, October 5. London to Istanbul.

Today was a travel day, London to Istanbul.  I took a few pictures.  But there is a Coin of the Day.

Coins of the Day:  Turkish Liras.


05-003 05-004


05-005 05-006

A US dollar is worth about 2.2 Turkish Lira.  So basically, if a Turkish Lira is a pound, a US dollar is a kilogram.  And oddly enough, a Lira is a pound, since the word derives from the Latin for pound (and by the way, this is why the UK uses £ for the Pound Sterling symbol).

Every denomination has a portrait of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who was the founder of the modern Turkish Republic in the aftermath of the collapse of the old Ottoman empire at that end of World War I.  The final name is his title, “Father of the Turks,” bestowed on him by the Turkish legislature, which also specified that no other person could ever be given that title.  Imagine someone as important as Washington and Lincoln put together; this begins to approach what Turks feel about Atatürk.

London To Istanbul

As far as actual trip pictures, this was another travel day, but I did get some.


This tripped my “how the world has changed!” irony meter.  I saw it on a big billboard inside Heathrow.  Aeroflot, the former Soviet state airline, is now the official airline of the Manchester soccer team!  I was later to notice that Manchester shirts, hats, etc. are sold in lots of places nowhere near England; they seem to have an international following.

05-008But Aeroflot was not my ride; Turkish Airways was.  The aircraft apparently originally came from India, since all the signage inside it was bilingual English-Hindi.

I managed to take a couple of pictures from the plane during the flight from London to Istanbul.  Here’s one leaving Old Blighty behind…


…And one picture on final into Istanbul, plainly showing a mosque of a style vaguely reminiscent of the Hagia Sophia (though with only one minaret I know it’s not the Hagia Sophia).  Clearly, I am not in Kansas any more.  Or Colorado for that matter.

05-010I took a shuttle van to the hotel, then prepared for Monday, which started off with another plane flight, to Izmir…after which all this time in tin cans finally starts to pay off.

And you will finally get to see some serious stuff.

A few random thoughts.

Although Turkey is Muslim, it is not Arab.  The Turks are one of a larger group of peoples (called Turkic) that originated from near the Altai area in what is now Siberia (they, and related other groups like the Mongols, are often called “Altaic”).

One of the reforms undertaken by the Turkish Republic was the abandonment of the Arabic script for the modern Turkish alphabet, far more suited for the language.  Turkish has eight distinct vowels, a, e, i, o, u, ı, ö, and ü–yes, both capital and small I come in two versions, with a dot and without.  (Note the dotted capital I’s on the money.)  Arabic script as used by the Ottomans simply is not designed to cope with that.  From what I could discern Turkish seems to have a fairly logical, straightforward grammar, though suffixes and the like tend to change based on the vowel in the word stem, it’s something they refer to as “vowel harmony.”

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