April 9, 2013

Istanbul - Day 5

The weather was exceptionally cooperative with us today therefore we decided to take a ferry to the Prince Islands. We took the metro to the Kabatas stop and got our tickets for the ferry at the port. The Ferry only costs 3 TL therefore it is definitely worth going if the weather is good. It is about a 1.5 hour ferry ride to the Büyükada also known as the Big Island. 

There are no cars allowed on the Island. Therefore the only way to get around is by walking, biking, or going on a horse-drawn carriage. Once we arrived at the Big Island we got a carriage - which ended up being the carriage from hell. Our driver had some odd desire to go super fast and pass all the other carriages. Honestly I feared for my own safety. However he was a sweetheart and a Giants fan - see his picture below. 

After a half hour ride the carriage stops and you are allowed a 10 minute break to walk around and take some pictures. If you want to go to the Greek Monastery of St. George you have to walk - carriages don't take you directly there. Counselor and I were a bit unprepared in the shoe department - picture below - Doc was the only one with practical shoes.

Since 2/3 of the team was defunct we decided it would be best to just take pictures and take the carriage back down.

After our carriage ride we grabbed some lunch at a local pizzeria. We decided to try Turkish pizza - which was delicious.

After pizza we got some waffles. You already know how I feel about waffles. They are AMAZING. I wish I could have one every day! 

On the boat ride back Doc took many pictures - this was the money shot.

Once we got back to Kabatas we hopped back on the metro and went to the Cemberlitas stop to go to the Cemberlitas Hamam. You cannot go to turkey without experiencing a traditional Turkish hamam. We opted for the traditional style which cost 69 TL and consists of; lying down on the hot marble platform and perspiring for a while, one of the attendants will scrub your body and give you a bubble wash. This scrubbing and bubble wash take off the dead skin from your body thus helping your skin breathe, cleaning your pores and also regulating the blood circulation. After the scrubbing, your attendant washes you in one of the rooms around the central marble platform. You have to be comfortable in your own skin in order to get through the hamam experience. I also discovered that some individuals are not shy by any means - so watch out. Later I realized I should have taken my contact lenses out beforehand - less chances of getting scarred for life. 

After the hamam we hit the gift shop and stocked up on lots of goodies. The prices at this gift shop are extremely reasonable! We saw the same stuff at the Grand Bazaar and local stores for double and triple the price. The perks of purchasing from the gift shop is you get these gorgeous gift bags which we stockpiled on because we got a ton of souvenirs for friends and family. 

We went back to the hotel for some downtime. Later we went to the Sultan Ahmed Mosque to pray. This was quite a spiritual experience for me. I really enjoyed going there and definitely recommend if you are able, to do your last prayer in turkey at Sultan Ahmed Mosque. 

Afterwards we went to the hotel to tackle our suitcases. Which took a very long time.

There are many things I love about Istanbul - the food, the people, the history, the culture. But the best part of this trip was to experience it with my girls. Doc, Counselor, and my 3 Soul Sisters made this trip incredibly memorable and enjoyable! Mad props to my Uncle for putting up with 6 headstrong girls - I don't know if any man could EVER do that! He is such a good sport. Istanbul you have been good to me and I will be back again.

Bye Bye Istanbul. Off to the Motherland!

1 comment:

  1. can't wait to try the waffles you liked so much. If you guys did a photoshoot in the hamam, I wanna see pics!



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