Thursday, 20 March 2014

In Istanbul; part two.

Istanbul, Turkey,
11 - 14 March, 2014.


So let me continue with my journey to Istanbul; part two. 

Day three.

On the third day, we went to Asian side of Istanbul (Anatolia). At the end road near Sirkeci tramway station, there are a few ferry stations you can catch to Asian side, but just make sure to get on the right ferry, because we took the wrong one, instead of going to Üsküdar, we went to Harem hahaa. Harem jadoh betol.

When we arrived at Harem, there was nothing much to do there, we were so lost, tried to ask the guard on how to get to Üsküdar, but he doesn't speak English. We randomly got on the mini bus, and after a few stops, the driver asked where we are heading to. Yes, in Turkish language, and when we asked him if the bus is heading to Üsküdar, he didn't understand at first. The funny thing is, all the other passengers in the bus tried to explain to us, but language barrier is the main problem here. 

Then the driver stopped us on the road side of highway and we were like.. Seriouslah pakcik??? We walked for a few meters and saw a small town. Maybe because it was too obvious that we were like looking for something, an aunty asked us if we need helps, and again in Turkish. We've asked in English and mentioned Üsküdar, and suddenly she spilled out a few words of German language. Farah and I were like look at each other's face.. "Sprechen Sie Deutsch?" 

Ahhhh soooo glad that we could finally communicate with local people, though in German language. She had been very helpful, brought us to the bus stop and asked the driver for us. Vielen dank, Tante!

We then arrived at Üsküdar and walked at the market nearby. 

After bought some souvenirs, we went back to European side of Istanbul. There are differences between Asian side and European side; and the obvious thing is people on Asian side don't speak English. 

Leaving Asian side of Istanbul.
Maiden's Tower.
Galata Tower.
Reaching European side.
As soon as we arrived, we had McD for lunch (yeayyy!), and continue with our most important place to visit, Ayasofya.

During the East Roman period, the Ayasofya or Hagia Sophia was the biggest church constructed by the East Roman Empire in Istanbul, as a result, was the place in which the emperors were crowned. Istanbul was occupied by Latins between 1204 and 1261, during the Holy Crusades, when both the city and the church were damaged. The Hagia Sophia was known to be in bad condition in 1261, when Eastern Rome took over the city again.

Following Fatih Sultan Mehmed’s (1451-1481) conquer in 1453, Hagia Sophia was renovated into a mosque. The structure was fortified and was well protected after this period, and remained as a mosque. Later Hagia Sophia was converted into a museum in 1935 by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s orders.

Do you see Jesus and Mary right between the Arabic calligraphy that says Allah and Mohammed? The Ayasofya is the only building that served both Christianity and Islam.
Well, it was very unfortunate that they are having construction and maintenance inside of Ayasofya during our visit.

After a tour inside of Ayasofya, we walked outside and found this! The Ottoman ice cream, exactly presented like the one in Istanbul Aku Datang! yeayyyyyyyy.

I'm a happy girl!
After had our ice cream, we once again went to Grand Bazaar to shop! 

That night we walked at our hotel area, bought more souvenirs to bring back to Germany, and end our long day with Kebab for dinner.

Day four.

So we checked out the hotel as early as 8 a.m. to avoid running at the airport like the last time we did at Heathrow Airport. Our flight was at 11.45 a.m. After checked in, we waited for almost 2 hours and when we were in line to board, we realized that it was heading to Napoli, not Stuttgart! Damn. They've changed the gate without announcing the changes! Perghhhhhhhh.

It was 11.20 a.m., we had to run fast, and the boarding gate was so farrrrrrrr! But Alhamdulillah we can still get on the plane. Bad bad bad service, Turkish Airlines!

Overall, I am satisfied and enjoy this trip so much, the hotel was so much better, only two of us this time, so much easier to follow our schedules compared to last time, and we managed to go to all the places we wanted to visit.

    Ayasofya, check.
    Topkapi and Dolmabahçe Palace, check.
    Galata Tower, check.
    Asian side of Istanbul, check.
    Have Ottoman ice cream, check.
    KFC, McD and Burger Kings, check check CHECK!
    Turkish boyfriends, check. Hahaha.

Speaking of which, I've promised to give some important tips to travel to Istanbul, especially if you're going with your girlfriends, based on my experience. So here you go!

1. I suggest you to stay at Sultan Ahmed area, it is easier for you to commute by tram or ferry.
2. It is a safe country, but there are a lot kids walk around and ask you for money, so you must know how to handle this.
3. I don't know, maybe because I am so used to Germany's way; they slow down their cars when pedestrians are crossing the road, meanwhile in Istanbul, you are really like kamikaze, the drivers never slow down their cars and we really have to run (and eventually terrifying screams) even when we are crossing at zebra crossing. At least in Malaysia, the pedestrians still have the power to stop the cars, the POWER OF HAND. Hehee
4. I realized one thing. At the city centre where a lot of visitors come to visit, many local people are able to speak English. But if you go to the other side, especially at Asian side, you might not be able to survive. Bring maps with you all the time. 
5. Oh and if you realize I wrote the places both in English and Turkish, because some of it you may need to ask the location of these places using Turkish, otherwise they wouldn't understand.
5. Good thing of these local people who speak English is that you can ask them, but in return, they might promote and drag you to their shops, or ask you to hang out with them at night! No wonder why they can speak English.
6. The guys are handsome, I admit, and sweet talkers too, really. For 4 days staying in Istanbul, we got about five invitations to hang out with different guys, after work. We rejected them all. 
7. Tell a lie if they asked you whether you're single or married. I received two wedding proposals, so random. Wear a fake engagement ring if possible, because they really check on your fingers if you wear any before approach. 
8. Like Malaysia, though Turkey is a Muslim country, they are still European and some live like one, if you get what I mean.

I don't mean to give bad impressions of Istanbul, it is a beautiful city, but these are just kind of precautions for the ladies out there. So, wherever you go, take care of your belongings and yourself when you're travelling. Forget about everything, enjoy every beat of it, and snap a lot of photos! Hehee

I felt so relief and safe when we arrived Stuttgart, felt so much like at home, yet, somehow.. I miss Istanbul.

Yes, I am in love with Istanbul, and I don't regret my decision to visit this place.

P.s. Number 6, first sentence. Mihihihiihihi.



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