When I came back from the 10 day Mediterranean cruise, some of my friends asked me what city did I like the best, and I gladly told them it’s ‘Istanbul’. I was pleasantly surprised with the mixture of modern and ancient architectures all around the city. I felt that there was so many things to see, do, and eat, I was just overwhelmed with everything. Our cruise had an overnight stay in Istanbul, so we got to see the city in two days, which I think wasn’t enough so I am planning another trip to visit again.
On the first day, as soon as our cruise docked, my family and I went outside to see the city. One of my ‘must’ visit places was the Hello Kitty World, the only problem was, it was on Asia side of the city (our cruise was on the Europe side). We took the tram to the central city, and found an Tourist info center where we asked for directions to get to the other side. The staffs in the Tourist info were really helpful and they provided us with the information we needed and a map too. So, we took a ferry across (about 15 minutes) and once we got the Asia side, we rode a bus for about 30 minutes. Public transportation in Istanbul is cheap so it’s a much better option than taking a taxi or driving.
And we got the Hello Kitty World, which I posted earlier here. After visiting Hello Kitty World, we went back to the Europe side, and visited the Grand Bazaar. When we go to the Grand Bazaar, it was almost closing time, but we managed to go shopping for a little bit and then we went back to our cruise.
On the Second day of our cruise, we had a tour. Our tour guide took us to see the Obelisk of Theodosius, Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Grand Bazaar, Basilica Cistern and Spice Bazaar. We also had local Turkish food for lunch.
– When you visit Hagia Sophia, make sure to visit the ‘wishing column’. It’s located at the ground floor, there’s a legend – if you can turn your hand 360 degrees completely without lifting your thumb out of the column hole, you get to have your wish.
– Wear modest clothing when visiting a mosque. For women – don’t forget to bring a scarf to cover your head.
– Try Turkish delights and Baklava. You can get these from the Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar. And don’t forget to bargain.
Have you been to Istanbul before? Share us your story.