A new day dawned- and we were supposed to wake up early and take the big bus tour round the city! Early- my foot! We managed to make it on time for the 10 am bus (Mind you- it was the first one), picking up a sandwich for breakfast in the Hippodrome.

The trip to Ephesus- cost us in terms of energy and we were tired. Luckily it did not seem cold, and we took our seats on the upper deck of the bus. We usually do two rounds in city tour buses, so as to get a feel of the place- but we had so much left to do : the Dolmablanche Palace (which was closed on a Monday -we never ended up doing it), the Topkapi Palace, and the Basilica Cistern. Yes I wanted to also go see Chora, but 1. we were running out of time and 2. the guides in the bus said it was not really worth it. Oh and we hadn’t gone to Taksim yet.

Anyway, we sat through an entire round on the bus. It got too cold  once we were at the city walls, and I almost couldn’t take it- actually started shivering. A few pics:

The famous Sirkeci train station!
People fishing! A very common sight
The City walls…

Their Stadium
I saw something similar in Miami- but that was definitely disturbing- while this is not.. maybe I should write about that too- someday!
Army uniforms were once made here- now this place is used to host exhibitions
I never did end up going here- the cable car up to Pierre Lotti’s cafe

On reaching the Hippodrome, we thought of taking the same bus and going to Taksim Square. We were then told that Topkapi was closed on a Tuesday- our only option was to go see it then and there.

Tripadvisor and every other guide I came across said that one needed at least a day at Topkapi and not just a few hours.. Oh well.. what could we do- we were stretched for time. But really- I wouldn’t give any of it up- I absolutely loved the trip to Izmir, and for any of you who go to Istanbul- I’d strongly recommend it- regardless of your religious sentiments.

Topkapi Palace: We spent a good 2 hours here- with its huge garden and breathtaking views. Pictures down below:

Entrance to the Topkapi Palace
The model of the palace and its grounds
Come on in!
into the next courtyard
Stunning view from the grounds…

 

It was hot after Topkapi and I wanted something cold- a 7 up actually!

Local sprite/7 up!

We then took the 3 pm bus to Taksim (the 4 pm bus was the last and so we only had about an hour at Taksim). We got off, walked to the Istiklal street just by the square. It is a 3 km long pedestrian street and I loved the energy here. Haven’t seen that kind of energy in a long long time! Made me feel like I was in one of the busy streets of Mumbai- in Fountain  (Oh I miss my college days:()

Busy Istikal Street- can take one of these to travel if you don’t feel like walking!

We stopped at a small cafe ‘Istikal Istanbul’. and Oh the food was divine.  We planned on going to the famous ‘Khorasani’ Restaurant for dinner to sample local fare (which obviously is very similar to Arabic cuisine), and so wanted a normal lunch!

yummmmmmmm

The chicken was awesome- we didn’t have much time to eat, as we couldn’t miss the bus. Having packed the food, we literally ran down the street to the square to wait for our bus- which was very late!

Taksim Square
Taksim Square- a different angle!

As we left Taksim, guess what caught my eye:p

Oh Really? That high up..

On reaching the Hippodrome at around 5 pm we realized that all the sites shut for the day, and the best we could do was take a tram and go to our hotel! On and then we chanced upon this roadside vendor selling ‘Salep” a thick milky concoction to keep you warm. It had cinnamon and smelt divine- one sip and it warmed us completely. Thank heavens the vendor warned us about how hot it was!

Reached the hotel- we slept.. not wanting to go to Khorasani where we had a reservation for 8. We finally did make it and you will read about it in my next post…

2 or 3 posts more- and my posts on Turkey will finally come to an end. I thank you- all of you- my dear readers, who have put up with me, with my lags in writing regularly- I’ve taken almost 2 months to write down everything about Turkey- I just didn’t think there would be so many posts! I mean Kenya was short and sweet… but oh well!