Tag Archives: Ottoman

36 hours in Istanbul

Two weekends ago, using my friend’s visit as an excuse, I hopped on an overnight bus to Istanbul to discover this beautiful city once again. The last time I had been there properly was November 2013 (yes a very long time ago!) when I had just moved to Turkey and I’m almost ashamed to say that even after two years of living in Turkey, I have barely scratched the surface on this one. I did end up going to almost the same places I did last time; however it was quite interesting to compare my two almost similar visits which were world apart, as a first timer in Turkey and then as an almost local – we didn’t get as ripped off as we did the first time, that’s for sure.

We had chosen a hotel in the Sultanahmet area, about 5 min walk from the main sights as we knew we would be limited on time and hence it would be better to be as close as possible to the places we want to go. Istanbul however has quite a developed public transport and you can almost go anywhere using the metro, tram and ferry connections – given the traffic in Istanbul, I wouldn’t personally use the bus but you may at your own risk.  I’d recommend first getting a Istanbul Kart (similar to the Oyster in London) from the airport or a main station, which would make it much more easier to get around than using this “jeton” system they implemented – which as everything else is yet another rip off. You can also get a Museum Card costing 85 TL valid for 5 days in Istanbul, which will also allow you to skip the long queues (although for a 2 day trip as this one, a museum card is not necessary as it will about to just a little bit less that buying one).

Waiting for the next tourist trap - at the Hagia Sophia
Waiting for the next tourist trap – at the Hagia Sophia

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Wanderings in Eskişehir

Life is taking quite a toll on me these days; between work and classes, I don’t have much time left to myself hence the lack of posts. But last Sunday, wanting to escape the daily routine, I skipped classes (yes I know) and jumped on a train with one of my friends to Eskişehir. Eskişehir is one of only two cities (the other being Konya) which has the newly introduced fast train connection from Ankara. The Istanbul-Ankara route will be opened in the coming weeks from what I hear and there are plans in place a Izmir-Ankara route. Things are definitely improving around here.

Meant to be a relaxing day away from the buzz of Ankara, we had no real plan for the day. We thought it would be a refreshing change to just walk around the city rather than make a strict and stressful itinerary to try and see all the sights the city offers. Out of the train station, we headed to one of the few cafés opened – we reached there quite early in the morning and by the looks of it, Eskişehir is quite a slow starter on Sundays. I’ve quite grown a liking for Turkish breakfast and it was quite a hearty one we had accompanied with orange, carrot and apple juice (quite an interesting combo) and of course, TEA. Continue reading Wanderings in Eskişehir

The Ankara of old

Old walls of Ankara Kalesi
Old walls of Ankara Kalesi

Since the past few weekends had involved a lot of buses, trains and planes, we thought we would take it easy this weekend to catch up on some sleep and recharge. Winter has come and gone in Ankara and now is the time to enjoy the many cafés and restaurants of Ankara while basking in the sun. So at some what-would-considered-decent time in the morning, we headed up to Hamamönu, one of the oldest districts in Ankara, which has recently been converted into a pedestrian area, the first one to open in 20 years in Ankara.

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