December 26th, 2008 – by: Eric
Nusretye Mosque view from hill.
It was very cold and rainy today. In fact, that seems to be the weather on tap for the next few days that we are in Istanbul. It was so cold and rainy that it was a bit depressing to even go outside. For most of the day, the rain was light (but nonstop), the temperature hovered a little bit above freezing, and a friendly wind helped remind you that your pants were wet from the rain.
Phil, Dave and I spent a few hours walking around the streets of Beyoglu, eventually making our way to the Bosphorus. We visited the Galata Tower, but didn't want to pay the 10 Lira fee to go up to the top. If the view was better, maybe, but it was cloudy and visibility wasn't too great.
One odd thing about entrance fees, at least to the Galata Tower, is that they have two prices listed.
Rainy, cloudy, cold Istanbul.
One (in Turkish), and one on in English. The price in English was 2x the price of the Turkish one. Also, the Turkish price is written out (i.e. not in numeric characters), to make it harder for foreigners to decipher. We asked the cashier whether or not we could get the lower price, but he said it was for Turkish people only. When we asked him about this he said it was "a special price for Turkish people for Christmas". Given that the price looked like it had been etched into the sign for years, this seemed like a pretty blatant lie, but there wasn't much we could say, and we didn't really feel like going up too badly anyway. Phil says that double prices (for foreigners/locals) are very common throughout Turkey.
We grabbed a quick dinner at a buffet type place, and decided to call it an early night so that we could meet up early the next day and do some sightseeing together.