Eastern Europe 2013... Istanbul

by - Monday, November 26, 2012

I am very excited about going to Istanbul.

And it's not just because the city was a focus on the Amazing Race a couple of weeks ago (although that helped).  Now I want to eat Turkish Delights! And turkish ice cream! And turkish bagels!

It's because that in the span of one bridge... I'll be able to travel between Europe and Asia.

Two freaking continents!

The closest I've come to this "phenomenon" in the past was when I walked a bridge between Ottawa, Ontario and Laval, Quebec - but two Canadian provinces have nothing on TWO CONTINENTS!

I am both excited and scared for the Kapalicarsi (the Grand Bazaar).  Excited because I'll probably want to BUY ALL THE THINGS, and scared because I'll probably want to BUY ALL THE THINGS.

(via Wikipedia)
Istanbul in my first stop in my month long journey... and since I'm backpacking it, I can't reasonably buy everything I want.  That said, I am overnighting it as my last stop as well, and staying in the same hostel, so I'm hopeful that they'll store a couple of things for me.

Other points of interest that I'd like to see include:

Sofia Hagia
(via Bialytok-Gdansk Diocese)
Topkapi Palace
(via Guide of Travels)
Blue Mosque
(via Wikipedia)
While I know that I want to go to these places, I never set an exact time or a time limit.  Rather, when I'm doing my more in-depth research on each venue, I take into account some of the following to get an idea of what my day may look like:
  • cost (and whether they take credit cards)
  • days/times open (taking into account any major holidays in that country and prayer times)
  • dress (if I have to cover up for a number of the venues I'd probably try and see them all in the same day)
  • transit schedule (I'll try and see all the venues that are in close proximity rather than go back to the same area twice)

For Istanbul, I'll also have to take into consideration getting used to a new time zone... although I'm a lot better travelling east and "ahead" in time than I am west and "back" in time. 

And that my friends... is Istanbul.  If you've ever been... feel free to let me know what you liked, didn't like and any tips and tricks I should know!

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  1. you are about to have an amazing trip! i can't imagine how excited you must be!! the market looks amazing, I'd have to buy everything, how will you stop yourself from buying a cart to pull everything around! lol and two continents is sweet! i can't wait to see all your pictures!

  2. Fun! Besides the attractions you mentioned above, the Basilica Cistern is kinda neat to look at (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basilica_Cistern). And the Archaeological Museum is worth a trip if you're into Greek/Roman artifacts, plus there's some Troy items there too.

    A boat/ferry trip down the Bosphorus to the mouth of the Black Seas is worth it too. It stops at Anadolu Karagi which is a neat place to visit - especially the views from the ruined castle at the top of the hill. I don't remember how we got tickets, but I think just from a public ticket booth, not an organized tourist trip or anything. I don't remember it being too expensive for the 1/2 boat trip, but there are more expensive day cruises too. Make sure you arrive at Anadolu Karagi before all the shops are closed.

    Take your own scarf to cover your head at the mosques, otherwise you'll have to use 'public' ones.

    I liked Istanbul. The people (ie. men) were more polite than other places I've been (ie. Egypt) in a non-hassley way, especially if you tell them you're Canadian and not American. And it was clean and very beautiful. Well worth a trip, I hope you enjoy it!

    My blog/photos from my trip to Istanbul (2007) is here: http://ramble-with-me.blogspot.ca/2005/06/turkey.html (ug, filled with spelling errors, but it was 5 years ago...)