The day we met the Turkish Prime Minister
Istanbul Travel Blog› entry 3 of 6 › view all entries
June 25th, 2010 – by: hoangn
Mehmet at reception was a great help, he gave us directions of how to get to Sultanahmet. We took the funicular to Kabatas and we changed there for the metro. Each ride cost 1.50TL, jetons can be purchased in the stations and tobacco windows located closest to the station. Cheap as chips and fast, perfect. It does get quite busy a bit like London underground so be prepared to get squished. We got there in no time and the rain was still only a slight drizzle. We tried to go to the Blue Mosque first but the whole road seemed to be closed off and there was security all over the place. When I asked a police officer what was happening he said that it was closed for prayer time and I should return at 2pm.
The queue for entry was busy and unorganised, people all over the place and no concept of a queue. We waited for about 10mins and paid the 20TL entry price. You have to go through a security gate and place your bags on the conveyor belt into the scanner, like the airport. It is very unorganised and a huge jumble of people and stuff bundled in the security gate is common.
Eventually when we made our way in we were greeted with a film crew with there huge cameras and ladders. We were guided away from them and stepped through the main entrance. The huge chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and the detailed pattern designs on the ceiling were quite captivating.
Interesting little features like the 'Wishing hole' keep all the visitors interested. A whole bundle of tourists gathered at the hole in the wall causing a bit of a chaos, while the young school children waiting and formulated an orderly queue. You are supposed to put your thumb into the hole and twist you hand all around the hole and make a wish at the same time. Harder than you think. Try not to dislocate your hand while you do it.
We walked the whole perimeter of the Aya Sofya.
The exit of the Aya Sofya was completely blocked by people sheltering from the rain. I came prepared and had an umbrella. We ran across the park to the main strip and had lunch in Cafe Bodrum as we waited for the rain to stop. I had the Sultan sumet. It was a delicious lamb meatballs and aubergine dish, cooked perfectly in a tomatoey sauce in a clay dish. This was a perfect dish for this crappy weather. I ate the whole thing and even lapped up the sauce at the end. The group had a selection of shish kebaps, lamb casseroles and meat and rice dishes. It took the whole course of the meal for the rain to stop.
After our meal it was around 2.50pm, we headed back to the Blue Mosque to get a glimpse. The road was still closed and the police and security was still everywhere.
Once he passed we rushed through the double doors and scaled the stairs up towards the Blue Mosque.
We decided that it wasn't worth trekking to the Palace at this time of day and everyone was getting tired and restless after the ordeal of the Blue Mosque. Instead we headed to the Arasta Bazaar, only 5mins walk away from the Blue Mosque. Here we wanted to look at what goods were on offer and the kind of prices that they were asking. This would help us with our negotiations when we hit the grand bazaar. The main things on my list were a tea set of six cups and saucers with brass spoons and turkish slippers. The vendors here were friendly they were willing to spend time with us and went through their goods that they had to offer us. As everyone was craving sugar, we decided to head back to Taksim and have dessert.
Evening events planned was a pink themed party night. We got all glammed up in our pink dresses and headed out to club 360. The guy from reception, Murat offered to walk us there as it was located on Istiklal. We walked for ages down Istiklal and attracted what seemed like the whole male population of Istanbul. People were following us and trying to talk to us and trying to touch us. This was unacceptable! Murat did his best to fend off the majority of them but it was getting ridiculous. They seemed to just stare and follow us, that is not attractive to a women, its creepy! Murat didn't quite know where he was going and ended up passing the venue then we had to walk back on ourselves.
Eventually when we reached the club there was a queue as the club was on the 8th floor of the building. Only one lift and a limited amount of people could get in the lift at once. We had to split the group into two journeys. The entry price to the club was 25TL, which included a drink. We walked in with a bunch of locals and they said that it was pricey but they always had a good time. The ticket covered any drink on the menu. We chose the house drink. It was very grainy like a cinnamon type of flavour, not so bad to drink. They played dance music. It boomed around the room. Everyone in the club was very casually dressed, we were probably the most dressed up group in there.
The entertainment was a lady dancing on the table wearing her underwear, full body on show. There men crowded the table and watched with their tongues hanging out for air. A drummer girl bounced onto the stage shortly after the dancer disappeared.
The club started to slowly clear out around 3pm, the usual time for London clubs. This place was supposed to stay open until 6am. As we started to leave at 3.30pm, more people were still entering. So I guess the party does still continue. We walked at speed to get back to the hotel as we did not want the attention that we had earlier. The street was just as packed at night as it is during the day. The noise just as loud if not louder.
Again as we were exhausted by the events of the day, we blocked the noise of the street out and fell asleep almost immediately.
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!