Last weekend, actually Saturday, we had a day trip in Istanbul with Japanese friends who are originally from Kyushu, Japan.
The gang reached expected number of people in front of Kadikoy cityline ferry port. Like last minute scorers, we caught the ferry while the door was being closed. Luckily, found empty seats on 2nd floor and then some of us started to take photos as well as feeding seagulls as customary.
We planned to visit Topkapi Palace and The Grand Bazaar before the day. At first, we got out from the ferry in Eminonu and walked up to Topkapi Palace while observing, instead of taking tram ride for a summary. We took shortcut in front of Gulhane Park then found ourselves in front of outer gate of the Palace. We bought tickets for 20 Turkish Liras per person after a moderate queue.
Topkapi Palace was home for rulers of Ottoman Empire after the conquest of Istanbul. It is a large palace in Istanbul, Turkey, that was the primary residence of the Ottoman Sultans for approximately 400 years of their 624-year reign. Now it is a great museum. There are different parts to visit such as Treasury, The Sacred Trust Section, Palace Kitchens, Harem and many others. As a first time for me, I saw and enjoyed the part of carriages used in that period of time. The carriages were in a display cabinet, just at the right side after passing security check point.
The tour in the Palace was fantastic together with warm weather. We had tea with the wonderful scenery of Sarayburnu; it makes you green with envy about Sultans and their families as they lived here.
After finishing tour at Topkapi Palace, we got out to see other wonders of Istanbul. We visited Hagia Sophia Museum, again managing to wait a moderate queue. Then, it was 2:00pm and wanted to eat for fueling ourselves to walk more. With the magic of two of us, hardly found a table , just at the 3rd floor of Sultanahmet Köftecisi. It is traditional so worthy.
Then, we entered to the Grand Bazaar (Kapalı Çarşı) and visited many shops. The Grand Bazaar is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, with 61 covered streets and over 3,000 shops which attract between 250,000 and 400,000 visitors daily. I can say that there are many many shops inside it and they deserve to be discovered. Moreover, it made me though that one can find anything there. As a valuable trick to first-time visitors “don’t forget to haggle over price”. I strongly recommend you o visit the Grand Bazaar.
As another advice, if you have time it is convenient to visit those places in weekdays because they become crowded during weekends. So, you wouldn’t have to wait queues and get forward step by step at some points.
After finishing planned sites to visit, we should have been not satisfied so headed to Taksim. So, we reached Karakoy by walking over the Galata Bridge.
Baklava is traditional!
When reached to Karakoy, it was inevitable to pay a visit to Gulluoglu Baklava (omg, it’s yummy). We took a table outside of the shop as it was the only empty one. The shop was crowded and luckily we captured some baklava as well as tea. So, I wasn’t able to wait for taking photos before ingesting some of Baklava. As a noticed point for me and my Turkish friends, whenever we introduce something to our Japanese guests, we would say “traditional”, like a prefix. So, we get used to laugh when saying traditional nowadays. ( the traditional comes from here at the title of this article:) They may get bored because of it but it is real. Right, the most of the food is traditional. I advice you to find Karakoy Gulluoglu as one of the wonders of the world!
After magical and traditional moments at Karakoy Gulluoglu, we took a tunnel ride toward Istiklal. After leaving tunnel and at the beginnning of Istiklal, unfortunately we forgot to visit Galata Tower as one of the points of interest.
We walked through Istiklal Avenue to the Taksim Square for the last point. Istiklal was crowded because it is weekend. When we reached to Taksim Square it was evening.
As every thing has an end, we finished our tour with hope to have rest for all Sunday due to tiredness of the day. For a probable note for each of us, having good friends and being in this city was one of the priceless things that we have.P.S.: For more photos of this article please check faceook.com/myistanbulguide