Red Bull Flugtag 2013, Istanbul. Part 3

A flying camera?

I think the intention here was to fly the plane off the top of the camera. Unfortunately, it ended in a catastrophic failure..


It didn't even make it to the edge of the platform, as it toppled sideways. Fortunately, the pilot was rescued, and limped off, supported by her colleagues.

An Angry Bird with wings?

A ferocious-looking Angry Bird came next; ready to be catapulted off the platform. We all held our breath. Could he fly?


Everyone cheered when the Angry Bird fell into the water, and the wings stayed up, with the pilot still aboard. Although, in his enthusiasm, one of the assistants fell off the edge of the platform and plunged into the water!

The noise from the crowd was deafening, as the pilot continued to fly his craft..

...until he finally set down, gently in the water.

This didn't equal the world record, but we we all ecstatic at the Angry Bird's success!

The next contestant sets off.

This next craft looked really promising. Were we going to see another success? Could we see the world record beaten in Istanbul? We waited with bated breath...

...Oh, no! The left wing began to come apart!

...and he crashed into the water.

Everyone was really disappointed. We had high hopes for this one, but it wasn't to be. The left wing totally collapsed. I think they needed stronger glue!

The Red Bull Flutag may be coming to city near you this summer. It is going to the following countries: US, Sweden, Serbia, Ukraine, Canada and Russia. Try to watch if you can. It is such fun!

Red Bull Flugtag 2013, Istanbul. Part 2

The Launch Platform for the Red Bull Flugtag 2013, Istanbul
Thanks to my membership of the ITWPA (International Travel Writers and Photographers Association), and a rather recalcitrant gate guard, I was able to get a rather privileged view of the Red Bull Flugtag 2013, Istanbul. I had stationed myself behind a wall, next to a gate overlooking the launch platform, when the guard told me to move on.

I showed him my ITWPA journalists tag, (which I had slung around my neck as an afterthought as I left the house) but he was unimpressed. I appealed to an official-looking person walking by, who, on inspecting my badge, asked, "Wouldn't you rather photograph from over there?", pointing to a boat moored opposite the launch pad. How could I refuse? That is how I found myself on the Red Bull Hospitality boat, among serious-looking press photographers and news crews!

Red Bull Hospitality Boat

Slightly intimidated by the enormously long lenses that stretched out around me, I fiddled with my camera settings, then zoomed out my 24-105mm kit lens as far as it would go. (Note to self, "Must earn enough money to afford more lenses!) Although I felt like a minnow among sharks, I was treated the same as all the other photographers, as we were fed and watered throughout the day. What more could I want? I had free food and drinks, a great view, and the perfect position to photograph the attempts to fly from the launching platform. When I looked at the thousands of people thronging the shore, I felt very privileged.

Some entertainment to begin with

The entertainment began with a man on water stilts, a jet stream of water propelled him up. He came so close to our boat, that he was able to grab a can of Red Bull as he came past! "Look up at the sky!", came the announcement, and as we look up a helicopter came into view. Sky divers suddenly burst out into the sky, then drifted down above us. The crowd roared their appreciation as each one neatly landed on the launch platform.

A Daredevil skydiver

This one trailed smoke!

They landed safely on the platform

Now we were ready for the fun we had come to see. I could see an amazing assortment of flying craft lined up on the quay, ready to go.

Migros had a shopping trolly, and some green rabbits!

The first attempt was made by the Migros supermarkets group. Their craft featured a shopping trolly, supported by some green rabbits. The pilot climbed aboard, and the rabbits pushed the craft to the edge of the platform...

...epic fail!

Some spectators took to the skies for a better view!

This contraption looked rather more possible. It's a bird, but
can it fly?

No, obviously not...

...but it did float!

Going down! I think there is a design fault here!

Everyone was having so much fun, but not much success with achieving flight! there was one amazing success, though, which I will reveal in Part 3!


Red Bull Flugtag 2013, Istanbul Part 1

Advertising the Red Bull Flugtag

Tomorrow, the 26th of May, is when the Red Bull Flugtag will take place once again here in Istanbul. I so enjoyed the last one, that I will be down on the promenade tomorrow, watching as craft after craft plunges into the sea. We always hope that one will actually fly, but that is seldom the case (if ever)!

Today, we went to watch as the planes were being assembled. I didn't see my Kamikaze Pilot there from last time; I wonder if he is taking part again? For anyone interested in the rules, there is a fun video that explains them, while past would-be fliers try their luck!

We were amused at some of the signs. This one says
100% hand made

...and this one says, Look out! The pilot is concentrating!

This bird looks rather fierce! I hope to see it fly tomorrow!

This looks rather flimsy! But it just might do the trick!

I'm not quite sure how this green man fits in.
I'll just have to wait until tomorrow!

They built this tower with what looks like a foofy slide attached.

Here they are building the launch platform. Tomorrow
promises to be such fun!

These cars have been driving around the city, to
advertise tomorrow's event.

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? We will know tomorrow!

I am so looking forward to a fun day at the Red Bull Flugtag tomorrow. By the way, I have an update to my last Flugtag blog. The world record now stands at 207 feet, that's  63.09 metres. You can see Major Trouble and the Dirty Dixies as they shatter the world record in this video! Can we beat this tomorrow? Oh, how I hope we can!


John and Rachel Visit Istanbul

 We were delighted to have John and Rachel to stay, even if it was only for a short time. With little time to spare, we arose early on their first morning, and took a dolmuş, followed by a ferry, to  Eminönü on the European shore. There we caught the ferry that travels the length of the Bosphorus, the 32km long strait that divides Europe and Asia. This cruise is one of the best, and most leisurely ways, to gain an overview of this great city, Istanbul.

John and Rachel look out over the Bosphorus

Arriving at the last stop, Anadolu Kavağı, we hastened to bag one of the best tables at a waterside restaurant Our fish meal was delicious, as we sat and looked out at the passing ship.

Our salad starter in Anadolu Kavağı

Day two found us at the Grand Bazaar, another iconic Istanbul tourist mecca. Here, John managed to haggle with the vendors, until they were nearly on their knees, and managed to secure some good bargains.

Rachel, looking at some colourful scarves

 John, in the middle of haggling; unfortunately, the vendor didn't want his photo taken.

John was quite taken by the impressive array of watches!

...hmmm, aviator sunglasses, will I ...won't I?

...too much choice!

From the Bazaar, we walked down the narrow streets, full of little shops, until we reached the Bosphorus and stopped for tea.

John chose this delectable treat, a mosaic cake 

...and Rachel chose this scrummy-looking strawberry tart.

We finished the day by walking over the Galata Bridge, where the local fishermen catch whatever fish is in season. At the moment it looks like Hamsi, the European Anchovy. The fishermen were casting multiple hooks, which they dangled in the water, and then hauled in  8 or 10 of the little creatures at a time.

On John and Rachel's last day, they set off alone, with a few written phrases in Turkish, to visit the Hagia Sophia, and return to the Grand Bazaar. Fortunately, they returned to us safe and sound, and we were able to enjoy our final dinner together before their early departure the next day.

Rachel chose Turkish-style fish and chips...

...John chose a rather delicious-looking curry and rice

We had fun, and hope John and Rachel did too, as we would love to have them back again/


Our Last Day in Chania, Crete, with ARIT

The charming Chania lighthouse, built of stone blocks

On our last morning with Joanna, our Greek guide, we walked to Chania's archaeological museum. The museum is housed in the Venetian curch of St Francis, which once belonged to the Franciscan monks.

On the way, we passed an old Ottoman mosque, the Yiali Tzami, 
right on the edge of the harbour.

There is no minaret, as this was demolished in the early 20th century. The mosque was dedicated to Küçük Hassan Pasha, the first Ottoman military governor of Chania, and  was the first mosque built in Crete after the Ottoman conquest of the city in 1649.

This, the Firkas Fortress, was the headquarters of the Military Commander 
of the city in Ottoman times. 

Built by the Ottomans in 1629, the fortress was used to protect the Sea of Crete from pirates. A chain was stretched from the "Firka" to the lighthouse, at the entrance to the port, to help prevent attacks.

The Lefka Ori (“White Mountains”) form a backdrop to the City of Chania

As we walked to the museum, we couldn't help but notice the graffiti everywhere. 

Joanna, our Greek guide, said that it had proliferated as a form of protest against the EU cuts. Words were lost on us, as we couldn't understand the Greek, but some were more visually graphic...

...as in this one. This appeared to be a stencil that someone had made, 
as I noticed the same one in several places.

Here, Joanna is telling us about this Roman mosaic, showing scenes from the Dionysiac cycle, 
and the myth of Poseidon and the nymph Amymone. 

The museum was small, but nonetheless fascinating, with its chronologically arranged artifacts from the city's history. We saw pottery, carved stone objects, seal stones, sculpture, metalwork, gold jewellery and coins. The seal stones are particularly fascinating, as everyone had a unique seal, that was never replicated, even after the owner had passed on. The seals are intricately carved, with very fine detail, an example of exquisite craftsmanship.

From the museum, we walked back to the hotel to catch our bus to the airport.

On the way, we passed the marble fountain in Plateia Venizelou, Chania

We were delighted to see this horse and carriage at the port. 
It reminded us of the Princes Islands and home.

This was a short trip, and so packed with information, that is was difficult to digest everything at once. Fortunately, I have the Blue Guide to Crete, to read at my leisure. Crete is a fascinating island, and one I would like to return to one day.

Press Centre

Press Centre
I couldn't resist this one!