Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Istanbul Touristy Stuff

So Mrs Istanbilly and I arrived in our new home on the evening of the 2nd of August. I've been into school a few times - they are constructing a new building and I need to make sure all is well. I've had a tour of the construction site.

We've been to a couple of shopping centres and spent more than we would want to!

On Saturday we decided that we should do some exploring and some of the touristy stuff. Now, Istanbul seems to have a fantastic public transport system! Dolmuses (really a shared taxi that has a specific route but more like mini-buses that will stop anywhere on their route for passengers to get on or off - quite an experience), an extensive bus network, a metro, trams, funicular railways and ferries! And remarkably cheap! Apart from the ferries we made pretty good use of the rest of it on our day out.

We decided to head for the centre of the city, so we took a dolmus from Zekeriyakoy to Sariyer and then a bus to Taksim. At Taksim we caught the antique tram down to the bottom of Istiklal Caddesi.

The antique tram runs from Taksim to the bottom of Istiklal Caddesi

The antique tram is probably one of the most photographed vehicles in the world

I love these little antique trams, and I suspect that they are one of the most photographed vehicles in the world (those of you who want to be picky please note that I said one of.) In a shop on Istiklal Caddesi I saw a great photo of one of them in the snow - I shall look forward to seeing that in January or February for myself.

When we got off the tram we walked about 250 metres down hill to Galata Tower.

Galata Tower

Built in 1348, the tower dominates the skyline and has a great view over the Golden Horn. There is a panoramic view balcony around the top and also a restaurant at the top. I am pretty sure that the lifts up to the top were not part of the original feature but they are a lot easier than struggling up a long and winding staircase in the current Istanbul heat and humidity.

The Galata Bridge crossing the Golden Horn to Eminonu
The bridge is the Galata Bridge linking Karakoy with Eminonu. The trams use this bridge as do many fishermen.

View up the Golden Horn to the Ataturk Bridge
Here we are looking up the Golden Horn to the Ataturk Bridge

View over the roof tops of Istanbul looking towards the Bosphorous
Andthis is the view over the rooftops of Istanbul looking towards the Bosphorous

As you can see in the photographs the day was very hazy, presumably caused by the high humidity. I shall look forward to going there again when the weather has become considerably cooler to see if I can get clearer pictures.

After the tower we went down the hill to the Golden Horn and caught an ultra-modern tram at Karikoy to the Grand Bazaar.

One of the main thoroughfares in the Grand Bazaar
This is Kalpakcilar Basi Cad looking towards the Beyazit Gate,one of the main thoroughfares aroundthe edge of the Grand Bazaar,

One of the side streets in the Grand Bazaar
And this is one of the smaller side streets off Kalpakcilar Basi Cad.

Visiting the Grand Bazaar on a Saturday was possibly not the best move, next time we will try for a mid-week visit. After the Bazaar we caught a tram back to the other side and a funicular from Kabitas back up to Taksim.

Once in Taksim we took a walk down Istiklal Caddesi and, in the Balik Pazari, managed to find a butcher who sells pork! So it was pork chops for tea on Sunday.

Back to Taksim for the bus to Sariyer, then the dolmus to Zekeriyakoy and home, hot, sweaty and exhausted. But, all in all, a very pleasant and successful trip.


Jayne said...

I loved our trip to Istanbul a couple of years ago & am looking forwrd to the next trip, altho' I have no idea when that'll be. I must admit I'm very curious to read about your every day 'normal' life, as Hubs has been on to me for about 3yrs now, to buy a property, probably around the Kusadasi area, but I'm hesitant :-)

Istanbilly said...

Jayne, when you and hubs come to Istanbul we shall have to meet up - bring your Harleys 'cos I fancy a trip on the back of one of them up the side of the Bosphorous!

Jayne said...

If we get there, we'll definitely make a plan & go for that ride :-)

(off to Berlin, Prague, Bratislava, Budapest, Zagreb, Saltzburg, Innsbruk & Nuremberg this time next month......on Harleys naturally!)

Istanbilly said...

What a great road trip that one sound like!

Anonymous said...

Hi Istanbilly :o)
Like your new photos on here and comments.
Hope you are settling in new home.
Looking forward to reading and seeing more about your new adventure.