Worst Kebab Ever!
Wednesday 20th August 2014
Catching an early flight from Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport is not easy when the game ends so late the previous night, especially if you have enjoyed some of the ‘aspects’ usually associated with following our team overseas. Apart from feeling a little washed out I feel relatively ok on this occasion for reasons to be revealed below.
The combination of an extremely good hotel deal and the fact I have been lucky enough to do the tourist thing twice before in what is an incredibly fascinating city has seen me staying quite a distance from all of Istanbul’s main sights. Being located nearer both the stadium and the airport seemed a good idea at the time, especially with difficult transport links to the former and my early return flight.
The main reason it has been a great decision however, is down to the service I have been given by my hotel in what has proved to be a difficult couple of days for me personally.
I don’t mind admitting I like an occasional kebab and in true British style, those I have consumed down the years have usually been late at night after a few beers. Not the healthiest thing to do but I’m not the first and certainly won’t be the last!
After Sunday’s travel I headed into the Taksim Square area of the city, joining some fellow travelling Gooners for some light refreshment. A few beers later and I decided to call it a night, only stopping for a bit of tucker before taking a taxi back to my hotel.
You will never see more kebab shops than in Istanbul, be they in tourist areas or the not so visited by outsiders. They are everywhere and always busy. In my previous visits I have sampled examples of various shapes, colours and content and have never experienced any ‘issues’.
Waking in the middle of Sunday night however, with the kind of stomach cramps where you definitely know what is coming, my choice of late night munchies was looking decidedly dodgy!
Without going into too much detail I spent pretty much all of Monday and Tuesday in bed going through all the horrific symptoms only food poisoning can give you. Not something in the plans or want to go through again if I can help it.
Come early Tuesday evening it was time to get to the Ataturk Olympic Stadium and as you might expect it wasn’t something I was exactly looking forward to!
Chucking water down my throat as if it was going out of fashion however, to the stadium I went and fortunately I started to feel a little bit more stable once I arrived.
Passionate is an understatement when it comes to Turkish football fans so the build up to kick-off being colourful and noisy was no more than we expected. A white hot atmosphere on a warm, breezy night on a bumpy pitch all making up a difficult hurdle to overcome.
The Gooners present from all over the globe did their utmost to get behind the team on what was to be a tough old night.
With both sides enjoying chances and Mikel and Rambo being forced to leave the field for differing reasons I think overall it was just about a fair result. It certainly gives us a good chance of qualifying from the second leg if we put in a good performance.
Everton await next in another extremely tough early season fixture.
For now boarding time approaches. I do hope the in flight meal is not a kebab.