An Istanbul Diary
Sat Day 1
Arrived jet lagged having got up at 1am to get an early flight from Heathrow on Turkish Airlines. Stayed at hotel on the other side of the airport – 45 minute journey into the centre (using the metrobus and metro) Evening = got a Istanbul ‘oystercard’ and went to Sultanahmet Square and had dinner at a rooftop restaurant overlooking the blue mosque.
Sun Day 2
Visited the Tourist information Centre at Sultanahmet Square and visited the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia Museum. Had Turkish tea and coffee in the café opposite the Blue Mosque. Went to see the whirling dervishers at Hodjapasha.
Mon Day 3
Visited the travelagent at Cemberlitas to find the prices for day trip to Ephesus. Thereafter went to Grand Bazaar ( which was quite a maze!) and bought most of the souvenirs there and went to try a Turkish bath at Cemberlitas Hamami. Got travel tickets for Ephesus.
Tues Day 4
Visited East Istanbul (the Asian part) – Kadiko and Uskadat by metrobus. It was really cool today and had Turkish tea at coffee at a café that lent wrap a rounds. Visited Eminonu station famous for Orient Express. Went to a café under the bridge and then a small market under the bypass and met a Turkish guy who lived in Haringey!
Wed Day 5
Visited Eminonu station again and went into the Orient Express Café for tea, Orient Express museum, and took photos of the platform and building. Took photos of the Blue Mosque from the Kadikoy ferry boat. Then did a two mile trek from the Eminonu station to the North side of Istanbul to visit Pera Hotel via the Galato tower. Tower was expensive to go up so took photos. Then visited and spent £15 on an afternoon tea at the Pera Hotel where famous people stayed including Agatha Christie. Very posh and they had a small museum piece as well as the Agatha Christie Restaurant. Then walked further to the Oxford street of Istanbul called Istiklal C and great street with typical Oxford street shops. Got a cd of oriental music. Ended up at Taksim Square.
Thurs Day 6
Woke up early at 4am to get to the airport for Izmir to visit Ephesus on atlas jet. So glad I did this as it was the first time I had seen a an ancient city in full. Again temperature here was early 30s. Well worth a visit but very tiring to do in one day. Got back at 10pm.
Fri Day 7
Got up late on the last day and visited Topkapi Palace where all the Sultans lived. Really regal and huge but great photos and gardens. You could stay for a day here. All in all spent around £40 on the Turkish 'oystercard' and used rather well.
Sat Day 8
Got up at 4am again to get to Ataturk airport. Really surprised on the 777 jet as I thought we were in the business class but no it was economy was so much leg room, comfortable seats, your personal tv screens with remote controls and game consoles and three course breakfast!. Saw two movies: Woman in Gold and the latest Terminator.
Got back to Terminal 2 at Heathrow and had a cup of English tea at Café Nero listening to a singer songwriter! Its good to be home! End of Diary.
P.S Recommendations The train from Ataturk airport travels along the sea front to central Istanbul – fabulous views. If you get a chance to go to Istanbul, its highly recommend visiting the Princes Islands. You can get a boat and do as a day trip from Istanbul. Cars are banned on the islands so you have to travel by horse and cart (or on foot). There are loads of beautiful yali or villas and the views are amazing.