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Start of a 7 Day trip; Excited,hunting the treasurs & beauty

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
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Start of a 7 Day trip; Excited,hunting the treasurs & beauty

I should start with thanking the DEs of TA, few names remember are Enigma, Taurus, busy retired; those who had posted wonderful trip reports and a big big gratitude to TA, without whom I wouldn’t have made this trip as much charming as we experience now.

I wonder my review will be bit longer as I wanted to write in detail that may help any first time visitors.

Finally on the 13th March 3pm, a six month long waiting of mine and 3 member family came to an end when the Saudia flight from JED landed at Istanbul. Almost all passengers are tourist except a very few locals. It seemed to have majority of them are first time visitors as a sudden voice of clapping that broken the silence was aroused onboard when the flight landed. Due to the long time experiences of JED emigration we were quite concerned while seeing the long queue at the emigration. But to our surprise, it took only just 15 minutes to pass the emigration as the number of counters are many and officials are very speedy unlike JED. And another 15 minutes for baggages.

Adam was waiting at the exit passage to arrange our conveyance to Sultan Ahmet, where we booked our stay. Outside weather was chilling. Metin from Sultan Apartments was there with a warming smile to receive us and took us to the second floor of a newly and wonderfully renovated premise of Sultan Apartment (I will write a separate review about Sultan Apt). The facilities were beyond our expectation at a very reasonable rate. After being freshed up Metin took us to Eyub, his friend who works as the manager at a neighboring hotel, who made some plans for our six day tour. Coz of the 4 degree weather and tiredness of jet lag, the day of arrival ended at 9.30 after having a nice dinner.

DAY 2 – Walking Tour

All are fresh and woke up early. Took some light breakfast and headed straight away to Blue mosque surroundings. The mosque opens only in the afternoon due to Friday prayer. The congestion of the streets opened to a very vast and beautiful place, where blue mosque, hagia Sophia, basilica and many other monuments are. Basalica is a real wonder; we never felt that treasure is there beneath when walked on top. Seeing an ad of 5 euro for a photograph wearing the traditional royal dress of ancient ottoman empires, we thought to try that. To our surprise, the photographer was clicking nonstop and took around 60+ snaps in a couple of minutes. After a strong negotiation, the vendor gave us a dvd for 80 TL, which we thought not a waste as to memorize forever. Headed towards the poor Medussa, who has been there upside down and tilted for centuries.

Next is Grand Bazar; thousands of shops holding variety of products under a roof. A straight passage from start to end while many sub routes to the heart of the bazar. We made some window shopping, joined the Friday prayer at the masjid outside (the rituals are bit different than we practice from childhood). It seems there are no common toilet for masjid as we had to pay 1TL pp to pee. After having the lunch, moved to Suleimaniya mosque yumming the roasted chestnut. The compound is very wide and beautiful as we took many snaps. It is worth to taste the mixed juice of pomegranate & orange from a street vendor for just 2TL.

Our next aim is the famous Spice Market. The passage is fully crowded. The smell of various spices that welcomes the visitors is a nice experience. We bought different variety of Turkish delight in bulk to gift our kith & kin as we got it at very reasonable price. My nine year old younger son was totally out of mood as this is the first time in his life walking that much. He was yelling and wanted to rush home. Took some nice evening snaps in & out of spice market and headed to Sultan Ahmet over a tram.

End of the second day had bagged many nice memories; friendly locals, Moroccan Younus who works at spice market, taste of different local food and many many. We didn’t feel the language barrier as many locals and salesmen speak good English.

We are planning to go for the Bosphorous & Golden Horn cruise in day 3. Hope to post the review sooner.

Istanbul
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1. Re: Start of a 7 Day trip; Excited,hunting the treasurs & beauty

Badarvk, welcome to Istanbul.

A wonderful trip report for the first two days. Detailed and informative. You had a very fast and smooth passage thru Ataturk Airport. Very nice impressions. I am eagerly waiting for the next installments.

enigma...

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
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2. Re: Start of a 7 Day trip; Excited,hunting the treasurs & beauty

Thanks Enigma,

Today our plan is for short bosphorous and golden horn cruise. We will start at 8.30 and will move to Uskudar for golden horn and then Bosphorus. We also thinking to add perry lotti hills. can you pls. tell me the route to perry lotti from Eminonu. Is there any other can be added for today. Also, Uskudar is better to start Golden??

Istanbul
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3. Re: Start of a 7 Day trip; Excited,hunting the treasurs & beauty

Badarvk, It is best to come back to Eminonu from the Bosphorus cruise and take the Golden Horn ferry from Eminonu all the way to Eyup pier. You can take the cable car up to the Pierre Loti Cafe at Eyup. The pier for the Golden Horn ferries is next to Turyol ferries, a bit hidden there. It is in front of of Stork Building there. Here is the pier on the map for Golden Horn ferries. "http://goo.gl/maps/BEPUV".

enjoy the Bosphorus and Golden Horn,

enigma...

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
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4. Re: Start of a 7 Day trip; Excited,hunting the treasurs & beauty

Day 3 – Day of Cruises

Making a slight change in our plan as per Enigma’s advice, we went for Bosphorous and Golden Horn cruises. Although we decided to take the Turyol, went after an agent of a private operator, whose rate is same as Turyol + they have a shuttle service from Tram Station to the dock, which is next to Golden Horn municipal dock. The whole ride took 2.30 hours moving through the European side passing Bosphorous bridge and returning through Asian side. This was a nice experience due to the blessings of a pleasant weather. After getting back at Eminonu, we took a break for lunch. Only Turkish Donors and fish sandwiches available around the ferry station or else we had to move bit far. Although the bread was bit hard to bite we had to satisfy with it. Next is the turn for Golden Horn. Checked in at Municipal ferry thru our Istanbul Card and disembarked at Eyup. Again, whole the way, this was also nice experience. On our way towards Pierry Lotti we just entered the Eyup Sultan Cami for performing prayer without knowing the historical significance of this masjid. As it was over crowded we understand that the masjid has an important place in the beliefs of Turks. It is believed to be that Abu Ayyub Al Ansari, (Eyup Sultan), the standard bearer of prophet Mohammed is buried here. The Eyup cemetery starting from close to masjid towards on the both sides of Pierry Lotti pedestrian way up to the hill and even beyond is a curious scene for first time visitors. After a walk of nearly half an hour, the view point of pierry lotti is in front of us now. The scene is spectacular and enchanting as it gives a panoramic view of Golden Horn ignited by the golden sunset rays. With enormous memories of our 3rd day, took back the ferry at 18.40 to Eminonu, had delicious Turkish pizza and headed to our apartment.

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
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5. Re: Start of a 7 Day trip; Excited,hunting the treasurs & beauty

Hello Enigma, our today's plan is Taksim, istiklal street, flower passage, galata tower. we wanted to experience nostalgic tram. can you pls. put an itinerary. we start from Sultanahmet. Also pls. indicate any other important sites that can be catched within this itinerary.

Thanks for your help

Istanbul
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6. Re: Start of a 7 Day trip; Excited,hunting the treasurs & beauty

Badarvk, You should go to Taksim first. Take the tram from Sultanahmet to Kabatas, and the funicular from Kabatas to Taksim. After having a look around at Taksim square, then start walking along the Istiklal street. For shopping, Cetinkaya discount department store offers very good deals. (on your left at Istiklal as you walk towards Galatasaray from Taksim). You can also visit Demiroren-Istiklal mall on your right. Have a look at my post No. 2 at the following thread: "tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g293974-i368-k4759…". If you are inetersted in the nostalgic tram ride, simply get on one at Taksim and go all the way to Tunel and come back with the same or next tram (or walk back). If you are interested in real good Turkish food at very cheap prices, go to Ehlitat Lokantasi at Balo street off Istiklal: "tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g293974-d1…".

once you are at Tunel area, walk down Galip Dede street where there are lots of musical instrument shops and you will see the Galata Tower on your right. Go up the tower as it has wonderful views for excellent photography. After you are done, you can walk down to Karakoy and get on the tram there for Sultanahmet or take the ferry from Karakoy pier to Kadikoy and enjoy the Asian side of Istanbul. Have a look: "tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g293974-i368-k1844…".

enjoy Istanbul today,

enigma...

Istanbul, Turkey
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7. Re: Start of a 7 Day trip; Excited,hunting the treasurs & beauty

Hi Badarvk,

Glad that you are enjoying your time in Istanbul. Thanks so much for taking the time to share your trip report.

As for today's program:

Take the tram heading towards Kabataş and changeover to the funicular up to Taksim. Once at Taksim Square, take the nostalgic tram in front of the statue. Go until the last stop. Follow the signs for Galata Tower and walk downhill for about 10 minutes for the Tower. You will have plenty of time to add another sight to your itinerary. Why don't you considering to go to Koç Museum (in Sütlüce on the Golden Horn) which I believe your children will love. You can take the historical steamboat to cruise around the Golden Horn. My son loved that experience.

Have fun,

Borus

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
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8. Re: Start of a 7 Day trip; Excited,hunting the treasurs & beauty

Thanks Enigma & Borus for your speedy and helpful tips. I will really work out accordingly.

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
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9. Re: Start of a 7 Day trip; Excited,hunting the treasurs & beauty

It took me a bit long to complete my trip report. Packed with many things when back to office. Here is the remaining part.

Day 4 – Sultanahmet

Although we stay in the heart of SA, this is the day we have chosen to visit the historical sights of SA due to weather forecast. We started late as it was a rainy day; umbrella sellers were everywhere. We had already packed the needed umbrellas expecting rainy days based on the weather forecast. Headed to Hagia Sofia; the queue was bit long but moved fast. Spend an hour + roaming around the nook & corner, memorizing the history, amazing architectural wonders and transition from a church to masjid.

Moved to Topkapi palace. The scenic beauty is marvelous that made us to spend few time for photograph; gave us many beautiful pics as the mixture of scenic beauty and cloudy day was best suited for photography. Decided to visit only the palace skipping harem. Thought it was much better if there are proper directions or passages to move from one to other. Spend around 3 hours walking, sitting, photographing and still not completed the entire area. Decided to move back as we felt hungry by now. Had a late lunch from a restaurant in SA, topped up the Istanbul Kart for next day’s Taksim trip, spend some time at hippodrome and headed to Blue Mosque. Performed prayer, had some time inside, took the night views. Since the weather became too cold we had to move to our apartment early. Our plan worked well for the day. Only miss was the archeological museum.

Day 5 – Taksim, Istiklal, Galata

This is one of the most awaited days. Set our plans ready as per the input of Enigma. Tram from SA to Karakoy; Tunel and nostalgic tram to Taksim. Spend some time in the square and around, photograph from the park, had tasty islak burger and kebap. Started to walk thru Istiklal street. The experience of simply strolling through this street is beyond words. Moved to Galata Tower thru Galip Dede. Great experience at Galata; the panoramic view of the city, Bosphurus, Asian side, Blue Mosque etc. etc.. All are amazing. The passage at Galata is so narrow. Many photographs, had lunch and headed to Karakoy pier for ferry to Kadikoy, the Asian side. Spend the evening at Kadikoy, bagged the sunset views in camera and back to Eminonu. Take away dinner and headed back to apartment. End of one of the beautiful days in Istanbul.

Day 6 – Bursa, Uludag

My wife & children were so excited from the beginning when Uludag was included in our plan. I was so confused and concerned whether forth and back can be done in a day due to the long travelling. My next day return to JED will also be at risk if any mishaps. Anyhow, we decided to move forward with fair plans and positive hopes. Woke up at 4.30, prepared well and headed to Enikape. Although it was bit early for 7.30 ferry, the ticket counter was crowded. Got the ticket and booked return ticket also at 6.30 PM ferry back to Yenikape. Disembarked at Guzelyali after a please voyage of almost two hours, buses waiting for pax to the Emek metro (half an hour); get off at Sehrikustu station, taxi to Topane for 5 TL from where Dolmush bases available to Mount Uludag. It was 12 noon when reached at Topane; Dolmush were waiting for pax but non to seen anywhere even after waiting almost 20 minutes. We are at a very tight schedule and worried on time lapse. Finally after bargaining, decided to take a taxi for 70 TL, wondered if the trip would be a failure since no sign of snow anywhere on the way, but learned from the driver that there is still snow at the mountain in his Turkish talks + his mobile photos that he showed us. After a long drive of an hour started to see some signs of snow. We back to a happy mood, reached Uludag, the mountain was fully covered by snow. Took the private Telefriek to the top for 20 TL per person. Being first time landing in snow the children played a lot, tons of photos, back to taxi point after spending nearly two hours. Again had to take a shared taxi for the same price as Dolmush looks like not to be filled within short span of time. My young kiddy was so tired by now and wife had also some problems due to zigzag driving when reached Topane. Rested there for some time; while riding to metro I had asked the driver about “Cemal Usta”, the famous Bursa Iskender Kebap. Straight he took us to the restaurant, had delicious and never tasted Kebap. Metro to Emek, Bus to Guzelyali. By God help, we reached at the right time as only 15 minutes remains for return ferry to leave. Had a refreshing evening tea and boarded. 8.30 back at Yenikape, straight away a taxi to apartment. All are tired due to restless travel, but still I couldn’t realize all it had done in a day and no slip-up was there in our plan. After refreshing went for Claypot Kebap dinner, served it beautifully as the pot is brought to us with fire and opened rhythmically. Tasty and delicious.

Things are looks like cheaper in Bursa than in Istanbul and seems a nice place for shopping. We regret for the tight schedule as couldn't make any time for shopping.

Day 7 – Farewell to Istanbul

Finally, the time to say farewell to this lovely city. All of us are bit sad, my young kiddy wanted to stay few more days. Woke up early, very pleasant weather, light breakfast. Headed to Blue Mosque once again for final views and photos, strolled around for a while, moved to Grand Bazar for some shopping. Metil & Yilmaz were ready to help us getting to airport when back to apartment. Packed the rest in a hurry, good bye to Metin, Ylimaz, Eyub and the great place headed to airport.

All these 7 days were the most beautiful in our life. Never to forget the city, the people we met, the fragrances, the tastes and many many…

Many things have missed in this trip, which might be for a second trip in near future....

Once again thanks to TA, DEs and all who posted assistive trip reports.

Appleton, Wisconsin
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10. Re: Start of a 7 Day trip; Excited,hunting the treasurs & beauty

Thank you for sharing your Istanbul experiences with us. I read your recounting of your day trip to Bursa wondering would you make all of your travel connections. So glad it all worked out and you made it back to the ferry in time. I had to laugh though at how excited your kid was to see snow. Here in Wisconsin (United States) it is snowing again today. We just can't seem to get rid of winter and the snow!