Istanbul, Turkey – 7/8/2010
After a brief walk through the maze of the Kapali Carsi (Grand Bazaar) and then walking through random streets trying to get to a Camii (Mosque) that is meant to be more beautiful than the Blue Mosque and have splendid views of the Golden Horn.
However thats to no real avail as I stumble upon the Spice Markets. And this place is abuzz. Its teaming with life. Its packed. And plenty of banter. Plenty of spices and plenty of oppoturnities to taste test Turkish Delights. Skip the Grand Bazaar as its full of tourists and unwilling hagglers and go here. Such a vibrant place.
A staple diet in Istanbul is the Kebab – which I grab on the way back from the Spice Bazaar and head to the hostel to chill out with a big bottle of water and escape the intolerable heat. Reading a copy of the Lonely Planet Central America (strange that a hostel in Turkey has this) and a few of people are talking up taking a ferry to Asia.
For those of you not in the ‘know’ – Istanbul lies on two continents, Asia and Europe. And you can travel between the two quite easily with a journey on the ferry.
We stroll down past the tram (which the locals call the metro – very strange) and then past the train station and down to Eminonu. There are a few ferry terminals a long this stretch of the waterfront. And a tonne of middle aged men trying to sell Bosphorus River Cruises (There is a cheap daily tourist ferry that leaves at 10:30am every day – its cheaper than these touts!).
For the princely sum of 1.50TL we get a token (you need one to get onto any Istanbul public transport). We also luck out as a Ferry just looks ready to depart. This unfortunately leaves us without a seat. But we snag a spot on the 2nd deck next to the railing. The journey across the strait is actually quite refreshing. It might be packed to the rafters but the fresh cooling air is a sigh of relief from the scorching temps we have experience thus far.
We dock into Is Usukder (a small suburb on the asian side of Istanbul). Stepping off i
s like stepping into another realm and its amazing how much the culture changes from Europe to Asia. Actually nothing has really changed. Its got the same vibe and culture as the European s
ide of the city. I guess its just the fact I’m in Asia. We wander around and dabble in an Asian kebab which is mighty fine I might add and then toss up whether to buy a Ga Ga t-shirt to be a fool in.
The ride back is quite similar to the ride in – but with an added seat this time. A quick detour for a sensational ice cream somewhere near the Aya Sofya and its back at the hostel. Its the usual packed terrace waiting for the free pasta with sauce and cream settled down with Red Wine and Coke (don’t knock it til you’ve tried it – the Spanish are onto something there).