Our last day in Istanbul or a lot of water

On our last day in Istanbul our flight left in the evening. Having calculated that we would have to pick up our baggage at around 4 pm to leave for the airport we nearly had a whole day to do some more sightseeing. And the weather was as fine as the day before. This was great because we hadn’t seen the Bosporus strait so far.Istanbul-Borporus-1I had checked in our guide book and it mentioned different option. They said to take a one-way cruise and then to return by bus, stopping at different sights on the way. But we didn’t see any one way cruises and we also found no commuter ferries going up the Bosporus (at least not from Eminönü) so we looked at cruises. There was one which took most of the day and included a 3 hour stay in a village further up the straight. That didn’t sound very interesting and the cruise returned to late for our schedule.Istanbul-Borporus-Dolmabahce-PalaceSo we decided to take a 1.5 hours cruise without a stop. It only cost 12 TL (about 4.50€) and was a good way to get an overview over Istanbul’s water side palaces. And there are quite a few. Had we had more time it would have been great to visit the Dolmabahçe Palace or going for a walk inside the Rumeli Hisarı, an old fortress further down the Bosporus.Istanbul-Borporus-Rumeli-HisariIt was really interesting to seen how many splendid palaces and villas were built so close to the water and I really wonder if there is never a flooding in the Bosporus because the buidlings are so close to the water. They didn’t look as if the sea level used to be lower and the Bosporus not as wide ore anything.Istanbul-Borporus-3Back again in Eminönü we walked through the quarter below the Grand Bazaar, turning a bit west and always up the hill to get to the Suleymaniye Mosque. On our way up we stopped for lunch. We went into a small place in the streets near the Bazaar. It was as local as it can get with a buffet where you could choose from many cooked dishes. It was defiinitively the cheapest meal we had during our whole stay in Istanbul: Two dishes full of different stews and a big plate of rice for only 15 TL!Istanbul-Suleymaniye MosqueAfter passing through the Univerity of Istanbul area we reached the mosque. Even though this one is not very far from the other touristy places in the old city, there were only a few other tourists exploring this huge mosque. And even better than the inside was the view from the surrounding terrasse.Istanbul-View-fom-Suleymanye-MosqueNow it was already early afternoon and we decided to walk back to our hotel and check out the little Aya Sofia. This tiny church now mosque was located just streets away from our hotel and is a little gem. It is even a little older than her big sister. Very few tourist get here even though it is just 5 minutes from the blue mosque. We had a turkish coffee in the court belonging to the mosque and could count the visitors on two hands.Istanbul-Little-Aya-SofiaAnd with this ended our trip to Istanbul. The way to Atatürk airport wasn’t as long as the one to Sabiha Gökçen but it was a bit unconfortable because the tram was super crowded as was the metro during the first few stops. But that is what you get if you travel in the rush hour.

Check out all we did in Istanbul here.


More sightseeing, a lot more walking: Istanbul Day 2+3

After a cool first day yesterday was rather dull. The weather was grey, foggy and cold. The Archeological Museum was not really exciting (once you’ve been to the British museum I guess its hard to be entirely happy with a museum of that sort).Istanbul-Archeological-MuseumThere was an interesting exhibition about Continue reading

Our first full day in Istanbul or lots of walking

To begin with my feet are not as sore as I thought but I guess my calves will tell me how many stairs and steep hills we walked today. Some how I hadn’t imagined Istanbul to be that hilly. After our first night stroll yesterday, this morning we walked up the hill from our hotel to the Blue Mosque this morning and made our way into the inner courtyard only to face an enormous queue to get in. Istanbul-Blue-Mosque-OutsideSo we decided we might as well go and see Continue reading

To Istanbul – a walk at night

After a super relaxing week near Antalya on the beach we now made our way to Istanbul. Our flight left at noon and as we were at the airport within 20 minutes it was stressfree. We flew again with Turkish Airlines (which is an excellent airline but more about that once we had our last flight next week) and landed in Sabiha Gökçen, on the Asian side and far from the center. If you are short on time, it is probably better to look for a flight to Atatürk airport on the European side of Istanbul. When we booked those flights they were already quite pricey so we took the cheaper one.Istanbul-Blue-Mosque-at-nightThe Lonely Planet guidebook I bought said best to take a taxi to Sultanahmet Continue reading

Hotel review: Liberty Hotels Lara

Once again we are in holidays in late autumn and this year we decided for Turkey. We were a week earlier than last year, last week of October, and we thought we take the risk of not that great weather and do a combination trip with one week of sun and beach and five days of exploring Istanbul. And so far it worked out fine.Liberty-Hotels-Lara-Turkey-2General information

As we booked flights and hotel separately and hence transport from and to the airport wasn’t included. We looked for something rather close to the airport so Liberty Hotels in Lara Beach, 15km from Antalya airport, sounded sensible. Continue reading

Where I’ve been: Ephesus, Turkey, 2009

On our “just girls holiday” in 2009, Tine, Eva and me went to a resort in Turkey near Izmir. While the stay itself was not too exciting (but very relaxing) one of our day trips was: Ephesus TurkeyWe went to the old Greek, later Roman town of Ephesus, Efes in Turkish.

It was actually quite expensive to go on a organised trip. Therefor we asked for a bus there and there was a minibus stopping straight in front of the hotel so we took the bus to get to Efes. This was very cheap and it turned out to be very easy too. The Bus driver was really nice and even though he hardly spoke any english at all he got were we wanted to go, showed us the way to Ephesus and bus stop back so we managed to catch a bus back as well. Continue reading