Saturday, July 23, 2011

My evening with the beautiful view. of Sea of Marmara...

I might not have mentioned earlier, at the rooftop of my hostel I can enjoy the best view of the Sea of Marmara. My "room" is just right beside where I am sitting now. My "room" might not be as strong as the room built of concrete, but I fell in love with it for the breath-taking view. Imagine yourself, sitting in Europe, looking at Asia every night before you sleep, isn't it wonderful?

I haven't been writing about my trip for days, because, everyday, we went out early and came back really late. There were no time for blogging, no time for photo-uploading. Traveling on the land, and across the sea were interesting. I was talking about visiting Hippodrome on the first day, but I forgot to mention about the entrance fee for the Basilical Cistern. It's the cheapest entrance fee - 10T.L., as it's just an underground place to contain their water during the Roman Empire, and the audio guide was 5T.L (RM 8.2). The audio guide will tell you how big it is and who built it, the only important thing to see there would be the "Medussa head" - 2 stone-bases of 2 columns carved with a lady face with hair of snakes, it's at the inner most of the cistern from the entrance, there will be sign boards directing you to the 2 columns, you will know when you are there as there will be the brightest side of the cistern. There were legend about the Medussa head, but I think it's better to let the audio guide tell you about that.

As for Hippodrome, you don't need to pay to see it, it's just an open place with 2 huge columns. So, damage-free for your wallet!

Have I or haven't I mentioned about the "free information" volunteers? There are a group of university students from different part of the country, in their blue shirts and jeans, gathering at different places in the Sultanahmet, where most of the tourist attractions are, standing by to assist the tourists, either bringing them to their destinations if they arewithin walking distance, or showing them the way on their maps. What a wonderful work done by the Municipal. O ya, don't forget to grab your Istanbul map at the tourist information center near the Hippodrome. It'll be very helpful.

When we were at Hippodrome, we were sitting on the grass as the others were, too tired to continue, a man approached us with a stack of "Istanbul" guides. With the price of 30T.L., we thought the book is a little too expensive, so we rejected, he continued to "bargain" with us, we didn't want the book as we had our guide, he insisted, guess what, we got the book for 5 T.L. with a stack of postcard for free! Worth it! So if you don't really need it, don't give in until they do!

Then, we went to the Grand Bazaar, as we thought it's too late for museum trips. It's really huge, for those that know Moscow, it's something like the old ismailovskiy park where they sell clothes are everything else. We didn't get anything there as we thought of surveying the price first, we don't want to get cheated. Keep in mind that they'll be closed at 7.00pm, and on Sunday, so don't go there when it's really late.

After the Grand Bazaar, we thought of getting ourselves a Turkish dinner, but a pure one is really hard to find, as Sultanahmet is full of tourist and the locals have adapted to the tourists' taste, they were trying to sell us PASTA! Why would I eat PASTA in Istanbul? At last we thought it'll be a good choice to dine in at Izmir Restaurant, located on the way from Grand Bazaar back to Sultanahmet, the food wasn't bad, but one of the manager wasn't honest at all. There was one dish that they didn't manage to serve, the waiter, knowing no English, trying to inform us about that, but a sign was given by that particular manager and the waiter kept quite, we knew that something wasn't quite correct, and we waited really long, so we asked for the bill, knowing in our heart how much the total should be, the manager counted the dish that was not served and trying to cheat us, but after being reviewed, he was just trying fool around, we weren't happy with his attitude, there might be such people when you don't speak their languages, so BE CAREFUL!

On our way home, we grabbed 2 real cheap T-shirts, only 5T.L., not bad isn't it? That's how we ended our first day. I'll attach some photos next time, got to grab something to fill my stomach now, really hungry!

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