Solo Travel: Istanbul, Turkey Edition (Part 1)

Turkish AirlinesThis is the first time that I travelled solo. Most of the times I am with my family when visiting different countries. I decided to give solo travel a try because I am the type of person who loves to be alone. I remembered when I was a student, I used to be in the travel section of my favorite bookstore and just reading about different countries. Now, I am safe to say that I am living my dream.

First of all, Turkish airlines, hands down, it’s the most delicious airplane food I have ever tasted (I have weird fascination with airplane food). So I arrived in Istanbul around 10:30. I grabbed a taxi and he is not familiar with my hotel. I was so nervous because it was the first time I booked a hotel without a travel agent. In my mind, I was like what if that hotel never even existed and I paid for it already. We got a little bit lost but we found it. Thank God. When I checked-in, I made a booking error. I booked for two persons! My room has 2 beds and double everything.

Aybar Hotel

Anyways, the hotel receptionist was really nice and she gave me tips on where to go. The first on my list was Basilica Cistern.

Basilica Cistern

According to wikipedia:

The Basilica Cistern (TurkishYerebatan Sarayı – “Sunken Palace”, or Yerebatan Sarnıcı – “Sunken Cistern”), is the largest of several hundred ancient cisterns that lie beneath the city of Istanbul (that is formerly Constantinople), Turkey. The cistern, located 500 feet (150 m) southwest of the Hagia Sophia on the historical peninsula of Sarayburnu, was built in the 6th century during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I.

I was amazed by the place. It was so mysterious and dark. There were lots of fishes and coins. I was a little frustrated because my GoPro can not take videos properly in low light conditions. I spend my time there looking at one of the columns with Medusa sculpted on it. I read that it is unknown how did it got there.

Advertisement, If you do not want to fall in line you can purchase a card called Museum Pass. It is valid for five days and you can enter into 11 Turkish museums without falling in a long line. Also, you can have discounts on Bosporus Cruise and other cafes by using this card. You can purchase it in your hotel lobby or entrance of any museum for only 25 Euros.

IMG_2380

After that, I just crossed the street and I reached the palace of the seven kingdoms… Ha! Kidding! Hagia Sophia looked like a scene from Game of Thrones (one of my favorite TV shows). If I’m amazed in Cistern, my jaw dropped the first time I stepped inside Hagia Sophia. It was a mix of different religions in one place. It started as Greek Orthodox cathedral, then become Roman Catholic church, converted into a Muslim mosque and now, it is a beautiful museum.

Hagia Sophia

After the Hagia Sophia, I took a break and tried Turkish Simit. According to timeout.com it is a freshly baked, molasses-dipped and sesame-crusted dough. To be honest, I am not a big fan of it.

Turkish Simit

Moving on, I got curious with Sultan Ahmed mosque. It was the first time I entered a mosque. The instruction was I should remove my shoes when entering.  Sultan Ahmed Mosque

I walked around the used to be Hippodrome of Constantipole after visiting the mosque. I saw very interesting things like the walled Obelisk. I would like to visit the Topkapi Palace but it is getting late already. I ended the day by consuming 1.5 hours searching for a nice restaurant that will serve me traditional Turkish cuisine. I ended up trying the Turkish meat Iskender.

Iskender

According to wiki:

It is a kind of döner kebab prepared from thinly cut grilled lamb basted with hot tomato sauce over pieces of pita bread and generously slathered with melted sheep butter and yogurt

Also, I ordered red wine because I love Olivia Pope (haha!). Istanbul is so beautiful that you can post every corners of it on Instagram. It is now 7:14am and I will go and have some breakfast. I am excited where to go next for my second day here in Turkey.

About Angelo

I love music, airplane food, steak, travelling, photography & video games.
This entry was posted in Travel and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Solo Travel: Istanbul, Turkey Edition (Part 1)

  1. Pingback: Solo Travel: Istanbul, Turkey (Part 2) | Angelo's World

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s