They decided to take this journey in 1990, shortly after the Soviet Union fell apart. Many advised them not to go or offered them only half-hearted encouragement along with vague warnings. But go they did. They slept in haystacks, churches, the homes of strangers, and dismal hotels in some of the poorest parts of Europe, where time seems to have passed more slowly than elsewhere in the world. They are met sometimes with indifference or incredulity, sometimes with hostility, but most often with surprisingly generous hospitality.
Godwin's On Foot to the Golden Horn (Picador, 1993) is a dreamy travelogue written in evocative prose that seemed worth the time it took to read, although I was never entirely sure of the motive that prompted the adventure and the end seemed a bit anti-climactic; Istanbul was the end-point of the trip, but the story ends just as the travelers arrive there. Godwin's mystery series, featuring the eunuch Yashim as the detective, are more informative about the city itself—or at least about Istanbul as it once was.