Nov 20, 2014

Istanbul Trip: Day 1, Sabiha - Taksim - Fatih, Bosphorus Cruise

On the meeting point of two worlds, the ornament of Turkish homeland, the treasure of Turkish history, the city cherished by the Turkish nation, ─░stanbul, has its place in the hearts of all citizens. ~Ataturk

Take a small break to the historic and magical city of Istanbul and come back with memories of a city etched in your heart and one that has more facets to explore. October end is a good time to visit with chill in air and thinning tourist numbers. The weather is unpredictable, it might turn the trip an absolute nightmare or memorable. I booked the flight (Pegasus) and hotel (in Kucukayasofya, Fatih) a month ahead. Visa was done in just 2 days, a week in advance. You might also strike a good deal with flight and hotels during this time. In morning, we arrived at the Sabiha Gokcen Airport, less busy of the two city airports and boarded the Havatas SG2 (just outside the arrival gates) to Taksim Square. Tickets are done while aboard or one can also book online. Sabiha being located on the Asian side of Istanbul, looking out the window one can feel the architectural, city planning and cultural difference while moving towards the European side of the city. The whole terrain is hilly and laden with flora. It was raining when we arrived and after sometime clear sun shone. The weather painted a picture so clear and green of Istanbul, with Ottoman-time minarets peaking out and surrounding modern structures. It took 1.5 hours to arrive at Taksim, from where we took a taxi to hotel (30 minutes) . Beware of the taxi drivers faltering with the meter, keep a watch.

Stepping on the streets of old city of Fatih, one could feel the history underneath with cobbled streets and walking through the Hippodrome. We booked our Bosphorus evening cruise near the hotel. Live music, magic shows, Turkish dances, old rituals, folk music and lots of Turkish food make this 3 hour cruise unforgettable. Glimmering city lights, the old palaces, rich Ottoman houses, mosques and forts along the Strait of Bosphorus take you back in history.

To be continued...


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