Emerging from the plane in Istanbul we were greeted by slightly underwhelming weather – light drizzle, worse than what we had left behind…
This continued as we headed out to the recently infamous Taksim Square on the bus to find our way to the warehouse we had organised to stay in for the night. Omer, our contact, greeted us at the square and promptly corrected our attempts at Turkish pronunciation! Recent events in the square were only subtly present in the form of armed police, the odd riot van and a couple of huge Turkish flags draped around for emphasis.
Upon arrival at our home for the day we were pleasantly surprised by how perfect the setup was: the welcome of our hosts, who plied us with seemingly limitless quantities of tea, coffee, cherries and so on was overwhelming. Every member of the office was incredibly generous and keen to understand what we were doing and why despite a significant language barrier.
Bike reconstruction took a surprisingly long time to complete with disc brake adjustment proving tricky but sorted in the end and we finished our day with a wander around the block and a meal consisting of a pile of pastry from the local corner shop.
Tomorrow is set to provide a day of tourist sights as we cycle into the centre and try out Hamdi restaurant (recommended by my grandfather) and look for my great grandfather’s old office!