I woke up at about 4:30 and prepared quickly to go for Turkey from Greece. I walked to the metro station carrying a heavy luggage in the morning twilight.
After several hours, I was arrived in Istanbul, Turkey.
My host in Istanbul was supposed to be home at around 18:00 . Until then, I decided to walk around by myself.
Nevertheless, I had no idea what should I do, what should I see in Istanbul. The only thing what I want to see was Blue Mosque! It’s a symbol of Turkey!
I asked a information staff about the sight seeing spots and got a map to explore. Then, I headed to the metro station.
In the metro station, as I didn’t understand how to buy a ticket and which line should I take, I was a little bewildered.
Anyway, I got on the metro with my gut!
A turkish man talked to me in the metro and he showed me around the old city of Istanbul of European side. It’s so helpful.
There is a European side and a Asian side in Turkey. And further, there is a old city and a new city in European side. A old city is home to Istanbul historic area which is designated as Unesco world heritage. Almost all of sightseeing spots exist here and travelers spend time here mainly.
So if you don’t have much time in Istanbul, at least , this area is a must-visit!
At first, I saw Blue Mosque. Speaking of Istanbul, almost all people ‘ll imagine this architecture.It’s first time to see a Mosque, a Isramic architecture in my life. It’s called the most beautiful mosque in the world, or the masterpiece of Ottoman empire era.
As might be expected of the reputation, It had a overwhelming presence. Definely, it’s a architecture which symbolizes the turkish culture and it’s highlight of the travel in Istanbul.
And then, I saw the cathedral Aya Sofia. It’s close to Blue mosque.Its also a important historical architecture in turkish along with Blue mosque . This architecture was built as a cathdral at first and afterwards,it’s transformed to a Isramic Mosque, and nowadays it’s a museum! It had been changing with the the change of the history. So it’s what they call, A witness of the times. The solemn atmosphere is as much beautiful as that of Blue mosque.
There are a big square between Blue Mosque and Aya Sofia. It’s always bustled with lots of people all the day. There is some stalls which sell foods such as corns, Sumitto which is a ring shaped bread with with sesame. Above all, Sumitto is one of specific food in Turkey and I always saw stalls which sell it everywhere in Turkey! It’s cheap and good! Besides it’s easy to eat walking!! So I sometimes ate this waking as a breakfast in Istanbul.
And I went to Basilica Cistem which is called a underground palace.
This is a large reservoir made in east Roma era by the order of the emperor Constantine. Mainly, it’s used as a court and commercial activities.
Its also designated as a world heritage.Its dim and had a mystic atmosphere inside the palace. It’s really different from the outer world. The atmosphere made me feel as if I was back in the past.
Lots of pillars stand inside the palace and the base of the pillar shaped the face of Medusa.
After I appreciated these incredible architectures, I walked around Rose garden. This is a place of relaxation for local people. There were many flower in bloom in the garden .
Many people were spending their time respectively here and they looked so happy! What a peaceful atmosphere!! I sit there and watched people for a while.
And then ,I had a tea in the cafe with with a nice view. I saw a view of Europian side and Asian side of Turkey drinking a turkish tea. What a exciting experience to see two continents across the sea at the same time!
I had a Turkish tea for the first time in my life at that time. It’s not so tasty for me. But I like trying local food and drink despite the taste!So I had it sometimes when I was in Turkey. The culture and the tradition is designated as Unesco intangible cultural heritage.
Turkish tea is also specific in Turkey. I heard that Turkish people consume a tea the most in the world. It’s a little out of expection for me. If you come to Turkey, both of them are must-try!!
After that, I walked around old city without particular destination and I went to the nearest station to go to host’s home.
It’s hard to move to the taxi stop with a heavy luggage! But many Turkish people helped me carry my luggage on the way!
Anyway, I took a taxi safely. But the taxi driver didn’t know the address I showed. He asked passersby the place many times.I got lost with the taxi driver…I got frustrated in the taxi.
A while later , I arrived in the place. But I didn’t know where is her room exactly. So I was at a loss in front of the door…
At just that time, a resident upstairs came to me and tried to open the door and knock the room instead of me. But nobody was answer . So I borrowed the phone and contacted her to ask how could I go into the room.
Then,she said that she couldn’t get back to home soon as her friend was in trouble and she had to help him and there were three roommates other than me in her room , but they wouldn’t get back until around 21:00.
Unfortunately I had to wait until then to enter the room with tired body…
It’s 19:40 at that time. I couldn’t go to a cafe with heavy luggage.So I decided to wait until then in front of the door…
At just that time , the resident who have talked to me earlier came down stairs to me again and offered me to wait in their room until the roommates came back.
For this reason, I entered the other room I wasn’t supposed to enter and joined the other family.
They welcomed me warmly despite I was a stranger and gave me Turkish sweets and made me tea. We communicated each other through a translation function of our phone and a translation of the family member who can speak English. It’s unexpected experience for me! But it’s really fun and good time! I appreciated for the unfortune of her delay.
They were fasting until sunset because of it’s Ramadan at that time. So they didn’t eat for a while although I was eating food they gave us.It’s interesting to see the culture of Ramadan as I’ve never see that. It’s learning of a culture.
After a while , my roommates came to pick me up. So I left their room and could enter the room I was supposed to stay at first.
The roommates are Hungarian couples. Its first time to have roommates in couchsurfing and meet Hungarian. So I was excited a little to have Hungarian roommates.
If you want to visit Istanbul soon, check this!!