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Istanbul


As the sun rises and illuminates the Bosphorus Sea, the city comes to life in the extreme early hours of the day. Eager tourists are already wandering around, cameras slung over their shoulders and tell-tale tourist signs written all over them. Appealing prey for the salesmen selling everything from portable handheld sewing machines to delicious freshly pressed juice to even spirograph designs.

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Daytime shot of the Bosphorus sea- fancy a dip?

The sky sparkles a brilliant hue of blue as the Sultan Ahmet Mosque (more commonly known as the Blue Mosque) looms out from a distance, its soaring minarets and enormous domes visible for miles around. The trams speed along the main streets at regular intervals, its mostly quiet and smooth operation punctuated by the blaring announcements at each station. Whilst they appear normal in Istanbul, tourists must be wary of their ability to sneak quietly along the road where they may catch people unaware.

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Courtyard of the Blue Mosque

The Grand Bazaar is truly grand and not a disappointing exaggeration for the entrance leads you into a maze of stalls and alleyways containing items of all types. From antiques to leather to beautiful art work, it is a place which requires immense patience, local knowledge or at the very least, the ability to drive a hard bargain. The spice shops entice you with their tantalising aroma but the word of the person selling the famous Turkish delight cannot be trusted. Promises of ‘cheapest price in the market’ turn out to be false when you visit the shop a few units down. It is a busy, thriving and lively place which can easily lead to an uncontrollable spending spree if you are not careful.

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Tourists unwilling to work out the logistics of travelling on the tram must be prepared for a lot of walking. Incredibly steep hills which feel so nice to walk down, yet become an assault course towards the end of the day when weary legs attempt to make their way back to their hotel.

A Scene


The air is thick like tomato soup. As you exit the airport, you are hit with the fanfare of taxi drivers whistling and pressing on their horn as they try to grab your custom. In the early hours of the morning, the exterior of the airport is still very much alive but the unlucky tourist who decides to take the train to his hotel is in for a nasty surprise when he sees the shutters coming down at exactly 12 am.

The air is thick like tomato soup. As you exit the airport, you are hit with the fanfare of taxi drivers whistling and pressing on their horn as they try to grab your custom. In the early hours of the morning, the exterior of the airport is still very much alive but the unlucky tourist who decides to take the train to his hotel is in for a nasty surprise when he sees the shutters coming down at exactly 12 am.

It is at this moment that he must use his bargaining skills for the first time in his journey as he haggles with taxi drivers over who will rip him off for the least amount. The humidity at night is a blanket of warm uncomfortable air, providing a taste of what is to come when the sun rises the next morning. Jeans are a waste of time in this place, as are any other types of tight clothing. The sky gleams a deep purple and if one looks closely, a layer of fog or pollution can be determined just above. Whereas the stars were so crystal clear during the flight to the city, now they are all hidden by the millions of glowing lamps of Istanbul.

Istanbul. A city brimming with immense history. That is where I find myself today.

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Thrills!


Visiting theme parks is always a day of excitement mixed with fear. Well it was for me since a couple of years ago but now that fear has passed down to my little brother and cousins so of course I enjoyed teasing them yesterday when we visited Thorpe Park.

I have to say though, they had an extremely easy time with me compared to what I had to go through with my uncles! Exaggerated tales of people dying or having heart attacks or falling out of the ride, the list is endless. Whilst I would dismiss their words and push myself to conquer my fears, my elder brother would sometimes become a bit scared but like all rides, once you go on them, they become ‘easy’ or ‘fun’.

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0-80 in 2.3 seconds. I have no idea why it is called Stealth when it makes such a loud noise!

Those are the words my little brother used to describe the ride he had just screamed his whole way through. Screaming on rides is good though, when it is done out of excitement but not sheer terror and panic! Apparently, screaming actually makes the rides seem more exciting so next time you go on, yell your lungs out before having a warm drink to soothe your vocal cords.

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The Swarm at Thorpe Park

I actually was planning on taking more photos but forgot to until we came to this ride. By this time my little brother had retired from the ‘big rides group’ but I had to encourage my young cousin to brave it. Amazingly he did! Although he angrily shouted ‘don’t hold my hand’ as we were going up!

It was a beautiful day and may perhaps prove to be the last day of summer in London judging by the day of rain we have had today. I did however experience typical timing issues with my parents as I had said we will be leaving at 8am in order to get there before the park opens. I thought that we would end up leaving at 8:30 but in reality, we left at 9:05! A whole hour later! Terrible right?

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Until Next Time

A Worried Student

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Dealing With British Weather


What do you do after it has rained during Summer in England? Pull out the BBQ of course. We are not going to let dear old H20 mess up our plans right?

That’s what we did today after a downpour of rain which threatened to sink all our hopes of a BBQ down the drain, literally. Thankfully, once the sky had emptied, it was all fluffly white clouds and blue skies so the BBQ turned out quite nicely.

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If you're a vegetarian, sorry! There is salad...

Now I wouldn’t say I am a pro at it all but there is always that little competition of who can get the BBQ lit properly. If it is between my siblings and I, then it is an easy contest but my dad likes to do it all himself so at times he tries to steal my glory! After I started it all up, he declared he had caused the BBQ to light up properly simply by fanning it a few times? Pah- yes, this is perhaps how men compete over a BBQ; not who has the best recipe but who has the power of the fire. Tremendous silly fun.

I tell you what isn’t fun though. The cleaning up headache at the end. Scrubbing the grill down and taking the coals out when after eating all that food you just want to lie down and relax. Torture!

If You Could..?


If you could enter your desired profession without a degree, would you still go to university or college simply because you love the subject?

This is a question that I have asked myself, especially since yesterday’s post got me thinking about what our perception of education is. As we know, university degrees have been taking some stick in the news and perhaps rightly. The extortionate amount of costs has led to people asking is there any other alternative?

Sure, there are internships but some careers are better suited to such a system than others. If I wanted to become a teacher, I simply would not be able to without going through four years (and over £36,000) worth of university education.

Don’t do it for the money, is what people say but that seems a bit odd when the whole point of going to university is advertised as it will am llow you to earn more in later life.

So if you could enter your profession without university, would you? I like English and I would like to become a successful journalist or a teacher or even an author but if I could have a shot at doing all of those things without going to university then I certainly would choose that option.

Would you?

The University Conundrum


I’ve just completed my A-levels and like thousands of students across the country, I will be going on to university this year. However, the ironic thing about this is that from a young age we were taught to work hard in order to achieve well in education but now the tune has changed. Apparently university is not the greatest way forward anymore and if you surf the pages of the internet describing results day, you will find many commenters simply putting down the student’s achievements with remarks like ‘exams are far too easy’ or ‘university is a waste of time.’

Now, these comments may have some degree of truth to them but what use are they to students who have worked their whole lives to get to where they are now? Why weren’t we told of this fallacy before? Instead we were told again and again that university is the way forward and so we strove and continue to strive.

Yes the economy is weak and fees are rising and you can ask the question whether a degree really is worth but the simple fact is that many jobs out there want a degree, even if they do not pay well. So you may never get your money’s worth but you will still get a job, I hope. This uncertainty is what drives students to continue on the path to university as it is what the majority are doing. The only way this idea that a degree is essential to any job will be destroyed is if everyone decided to boycott studying at degree level. Now you tell me, is that ever going to happen?

In the meantime, I’ll continue with my studies and take my chances.