Julia's back on board

Istanbul Travel Blog

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Obelisk of Theodosius at the Hippodrome

People i met here who contributed to, and improved my trip: Julia (Russia), Nicole (England), Hakan (Turkey)

I was exhausted and feeling a little dejected when i made it to Istanbul at 15.00, more than two hours later than i had expected. My embassy would be closed by the time that i reached it, so this would add on several more days for them to process my passport application, as now it would include an extra weekend. Having checked into Cordial House Hostel (11YTL for a dorm bed), i went and ate at my favourite little restaurant in Sultanahmet and then returned to the Hostel to chill out for the remainder of the day and make use of the free wireless.

Blue Mosque / Sultanahmet Mosque


I had a couple of important tasks lined up for Tuesday, which were to apply for my fourth passport of the trip and meet Julia for the third time of the trip. Her flight wasn't due in until 14.20, so i spent the morning at the British Embassy in Taksim, filling in all the necessary forms. To get a 48 page biometric passport would cost 355YTL ($222), which i think is incredibly steep, but at least the service was attentive, fast and informative.

I was finished by 11.30 so took a walk down Istiklal Caddesi and then caught the tram and metro out to Ataturk International Airport. Julia's flight was on time and we were re-united around 14.40, a little over two months after we separated in Armenia. It seemed a bit odd after so long, but within an hour or so, everything seemed back to normal and it was like we had never been apart.
Boy stands on the back of a tram going down Istiklal Caddesi


We were booked into a double room at Cordial House Hotel, which was 40YTL a night, and i think its just about the best budget option in town. Once we had settled in i decided that Julia should sample some traditional Turkish food, and to follow up from the kebab she had already eaten, i took her for a Big Mac meal :) Can't beat that for Turkish cuisine!

On Wednesday we took a morning walk around Sultanahmet, taking in the Blue Mosque, Aya Sofya and Topkapi Palace, all from the outside. After a spot of lunch we crossed Galata Bridge, which was brimming with fishermen, all of whom seemed to have caught a number of small fish, but nothing that looked remotely edible. We walked through Tophane and up towards Beyoglu and Taksim, so Julia could take her first look at Istiklal Caddesi.
Blue Mosque at night, with birds flying above it


I had received an email from the British Embassy on Tuesday afternoon, so wanted to go and check that everything was ok whilst we were in the area. To my surprise the passport was already printed, 13 days ahead of schedule. A lady called Nicole was the vice consul and she was a really nice woman, who had not only processed the application extremely quickly, but also had lots of information on the Syrian visa, Israel stamps and the possibility of me obtaining a second passport. So my experience with this embassy, just like the one in Estonia can only be described as extremely positive. I'm not sure what was wrong with the embassy in Almaty, Kazakhstan, but they need their heads banging together there!

With a spring in our steps we wandered around Taksim for half an hour and then returned home, as i was starting to feel a little tired from the cold that i had caught.
Aya Sofya
We went out for a couple of different Kebab dishes in the evening, and i opted for the Adana, which was good value at 5YTL ($3,10). With Dinner out out of the way, we took the opportunity to walk around the City at night, which is always one of my favourite experiences. Sultanahmet Mosque (Blue Mosque) looked breathtaking, Aya Sofya enchanting and the Galata Bridge was still filled with fisherman. To finish the night I gave my Mum a quick call for her birthday and also bumped into a guy that i had met in Batman six weeks earlier, which was quite bizarre, before heading home to bed.

On Thursday morning we checked out of our Hotel and went for an early lunch of Pide and Lahmacun, in a nearby restaurant.
The Galata Bridge and Yeni Camii, illuminated at night
I was still feeling a little under the weather, so we decided to stick around Sultanhmet for the day and began by paying the Blue Mosque a visit. Thankfully it wasn't prayer time, so Julia got to take her first look inside, whilst it was my third visit here. We didn't stick around too long, and when we exited we went to look at the tomb of Sultan Ahmet I, as neither of us had seen this before. It was ok, but no different from all the other tombs i had seen in recent weeks!

Having taken a walk along some less touristy streets in the district, i had to return to the Hotel for a rest and Julia went to the Grand Bazaar and surrounding environs for a couple of hours. At 19.00 we caught the tram to Kabatas and left ourselves with the devilish task of climbing up the hill to Taksim with all of our bags.
Yeni Camii, illuminated at night
Both of us were puffing and panting by the time we reached the summit, and it left us wondering why we didn't just pay $1 to take the funicular! There was just enough time to grab some Dinner, before we had to meet our Couchsurfing host Hakan, so we went into a buffet on Istiklal, for some chicken and mushrooms.

I had actually met with Hakan twice the last time i was in Istanbul, so having dropped our bags off at his house, we went out to a sheesha bar to smoke a water pipe, drink some tea and have a backgammon re-match and this time i came out victorious. Sadly the bar ripped us off on our bill, but apart from that it was a really enjoyable night and gave Julia some further insight into what Turkey is all about!

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Obelisk of Theodosius at the Hippo…
Obelisk of Theodosius at the Hipp…
Blue Mosque / Sultanahmet Mosque
Blue Mosque / Sultanahmet Mosque
Boy stands on the back of a tram g…
Boy stands on the back of a tram …
Blue Mosque at night, with birds f…
Blue Mosque at night, with birds …
Aya Sofya
Aya Sofya
The Galata Bridge and Yeni Camii, …
The Galata Bridge and Yeni Camii,…
Yeni Camii, illuminated at night
Yeni Camii, illuminated at night
Obelisk of Theodosius at the Hippo…
Obelisk of Theodosius at the Hipp…
Rough Stone Obelisk at the Hippodr…
Rough Stone Obelisk at the Hippod…
Carvings on the Obelisk of Theodos…
Carvings on the Obelisk of Theodo…
Julia at the Blue Mosque / Sultana…
Julia at the Blue Mosque / Sultan…
Courtyard of the Blue Mosque / Sul…
Courtyard of the Blue Mosque / Su…
Tomb of Sultan Ahmet I
Tomb of Sultan Ahmet I
Tomb of Sultan Ahmet I
Tomb of Sultan Ahmet I
Ceiling of the Tomb of Sultan Ahme…
Ceiling of the Tomb of Sultan Ahm…
Tomb of Sultan Ahmet I
Tomb of Sultan Ahmet I
Tomb of Sultan Ahmet I
Tomb of Sultan Ahmet I
Tomb of Sultan Ahmet I
Tomb of Sultan Ahmet I
Julia in front of a fountain in Su…
Julia in front of a fountain in S…
Fountain in Sultanahmet Park, with…
Fountain in Sultanahmet Park, wit…
Blue Mosque / Sultanahmet Mosque
Blue Mosque / Sultanahmet Mosque
Aya Sofya
Aya Sofya
Haghia Eirene
Haghia Eirene
Cats in Topkapi Palaces gardens
Cats in Topkapi Palaces gardens
Entrance to Topkapi Palace
Entrance to Topkapi Palace
Boat on the Bosphorus River
Boat on the Bosphorus River
Boats on the Bosphorus River
Boats on the Bosphorus River
Stained glass window in the Church…
Stained glass window in the Churc…
Church of San Antonio de Padua
Church of San Antonio de Padua
Tram going down Istiklal Caddesi
Tram going down Istiklal Caddesi
Statue of the Pope in front of the…
Statue of the Pope in front of th…
Cumhuriyet Aniti (Republic Monumen…
Cumhuriyet Aniti (Republic Monume…
Cumhuriyet Aniti (Republic Monumen…
Cumhuriyet Aniti (Republic Monume…
Cumhuriyet Aniti (Republic Monumen…
Cumhuriyet Aniti (Republic Monume…
Blue Mosque at night, with birds f…
Blue Mosque at night, with birds …
Obelisk of Theodosius and the Blue…
Obelisk of Theodosius and the Blu…
Illuminated Minarets of the Blue M…
Illuminated Minarets of the Blue …
Kaiser Wilhelms Fountain at the Hi…
Kaiser Wilhelms Fountain at the H…
Kaiser Wilhelms Fountain at the Hi…
Kaiser Wilhelms Fountain at the H…
Blue Mosque at night, with birds f…
Blue Mosque at night, with birds …
Blue Mosque at night, with birds f…
Blue Mosque at night, with birds …
Aya Sofya
Aya Sofya
Fishing rods on the Galata Bridge,…
Fishing rods on the Galata Bridge…
Fishermen on the Galata Bridge, wi…
Fishermen on the Galata Bridge, w…
The Galata Bridge, illuminated at …
The Galata Bridge, illuminated at…
Aya Sofya (left) and Yeni Camii (r…
Aya Sofya (left) and Yeni Camii (…
Topkapi Palace, illuminated at nig…
Topkapi Palace, illuminated at ni…
Aya Sofya, illuminated at night
Aya Sofya, illuminated at night
Aya Sofya, illuminated at night
Aya Sofya, illuminated at night
Yeni Camii, illuminated at night
Yeni Camii, illuminated at night
Rustem Pasa Camii (left) and Suley…
Rustem Pasa Camii (left) and Sule…
Rustem Pasa Camii (left) and Suley…
Rustem Pasa Camii (left) and Sule…
Obelisk of Theodosius and the Blue…
Obelisk of Theodosius and the Blu…
Kaiser Wilhelms Fountain at the Hi…
Kaiser Wilhelms Fountain at the H…
Kaiser Wilhelms Fountain at the Hi…
Kaiser Wilhelms Fountain at the H…
Aya Sofya
Aya Sofya
Julia in front of Aya Sofya
Julia in front of Aya Sofya
Aya Sofya
Aya Sofya
Me in front of Aya Sofya
Me in front of Aya Sofya
Blue Mosque / Sultanahmet Mosque
Blue Mosque / Sultanahmet Mosque
Blue Mosque / Sultanahmet Mosque
Blue Mosque / Sultanahmet Mosque
Aya Sofya
Aya Sofya
Aya Sofya, seen from the entrance …
Aya Sofya, seen from the entrance…
Courtyard of Sultanahmet Mosque ak…
Courtyard of Sultanahmet Mosque a…
Courtyard of Sultanahmet Mosque ak…
Courtyard of Sultanahmet Mosque a…
Courtyard of Sultanahmet Mosque ak…
Courtyard of Sultanahmet Mosque a…
Courtyard of Sultanahmet Mosque ak…
Courtyard of Sultanahmet Mosque a…
Sultanahmet Mosque aka Blue Mosque
Sultanahmet Mosque aka Blue Mosque
Sultanahmet Mosque aka Blue Mosque
Sultanahmet Mosque aka Blue Mosque
Sultanahmet Mosque aka Blue Mosque
Sultanahmet Mosque aka Blue Mosque
Julia sat on the ablutions fountai…
Julia sat on the ablutions founta…
Interior of Sultanahmet Mosque aka…
Interior of Sultanahmet Mosque ak…
Interior of Sultanahmet Mosque aka…
Interior of Sultanahmet Mosque ak…
Stained glass windows in Sultanahm…
Stained glass windows in Sultanah…
Stained glass windows in Sultanahm…
Stained glass windows in Sultanah…
Obelisk of Theodosius at the Hippo…
Obelisk of Theodosius at the Hipp…
Colourful houses in Sultanahmet
Colourful houses in Sultanahmet
Sultanahmet Mosque aka Blue Mosque…
Sultanahmet Mosque aka Blue Mosqu…
Sultanahmet Mosque aka Blue Mosque
Sultanahmet Mosque aka Blue Mosque
Istanbul
photo by: Memo