The more advertised city is, the more we expect from it. And, as a result, we return home with sadness and disappointment. These emotions have gave us Istanbul.
Yes, it’s worth visiting to visit the paths where Roksolana was walking, to touch the cultural heritage of many different peoples with their unique traditions, to taste real Turkish delicacies and, of course, to visit between Asia and Europe, enjoying a walk along the Bosphorus.
But every advertised place has its own drawbacks, which, as a rule, nobody mentions anywhere. And this is normal. After all, all of travel agency want people more and more to ask for tours, and no tourist wants friends to scoff at his failed trip. Therefore, all bad things remain on the sidelines. But we will talk about this …
Before the trip, I (actually, as always) put a rough plan for our trip to Istanbul. I looked through all the hassles for tourists and decided what would be most like to meet.
However, these plans were not destined to come true, because everything went awry on the plane.
My inattention decided to play with me. It turned out that I had determined for myself the wrong time of arrival in Istanbul and the wrong airport.
In the plane we really could not sleep: it was terribly uncomfortable and cold. We arrived at half past five in the morning, which did not affect our state of health in the best way. From the early arrival at the hotel we refused, firmly believing that we will be able to hold out until settling, so we had only to eat well, collect all the forces in a fist and courageously get acquainted with the streets of this famous city.
Since we flew to the airport on the Asian side, and not on the European side, we had to find out on the spot how to get to the old city, where to buy Istanbulbald and what else to do next. With nerves and emotions, everyone found out, got on the bus and rushed to the adventure.
The bus brought us directly to the central square of the city – Taksim. After reading the day before about her a lot of flattering, we were pleased with the destination. However, when we went out to look at it, the first thing we saw was the mountains of rubbish and sluggish homeless people. Yes, homeless people parted ways, freeing shops for other townspeople, litter unhurriedly raked local public utilities … But the first impression, all the same, remained so-so.
Then the navigator helped us determine the pedestrian street that is popular (as they say on the Internet pages). For a long time we could not believe that it was her when we saw a rutted street, the pits of which were actively trying to go around in cars and motorcycles, again the same piles of garbage and dozens of homeless people. Therefore, we decided to hurry to get out of this chaos more quickly. And even the famous Galata tower, which met us along the way, did not make us stay there for long.
But, when we saw the waters of the Golden Horn, life got better. It seemed that everything is now changing and we, finally, will enjoy all the highlights of the city.
And they enjoyed … The hideous smell of rotten fish and … garbage when they reached the (still advertised) two-story bridge. Immediately did the famous hotdog – a herring in a loaf, which we planned to try, but now they obviously tried not to think about it.
I will not argue, if you forget about the smell, the views from this bridge are simply stunning. Boats, boats, lovely colorful buildings, clinging to the shores of the bay, the minarets and seagulls majestically looking out over them all, are all depicting an amazing picture that one wants to look at and watch.
And for a while you forget even the smell that chokes, that already tears are pouring from your eyes. But, nevertheless, he wins and you try to escape far away from him.
And in running you do not notice how you get on the streets of the city, where life and trade are in full swing. Narrow streets (and they are no longer narrow by nature, but because of the counters and thousands of people walking) go deeper and deeper, presenting the tourist with more and more ancient buildings, patterns, revealing the Turkish soul and sharing the secret secrets of such an amazing country.
You are drawn into the cycle of the Istanbul weekend and you no longer understand where you are, only you absorb what Mrs. Surprise presents to you. So we only realized the next day that we were passing through the corridors of the Grand Bazaar, when again, already purposefully, they returned here.
And now it’s time to have a bite. We spent a long time looking for an inexpensive place to eat, as my greed only got used to tourist prices and could not take 6 euros for fast food, as a reality. Therefore, after long hungry disputes, we decided to eat in the first place. And it turned out to be quite “Turkish” Burger King. However, the food gave us the strength and the mood that was still needed to get to the hotel.
The hotel, judging by the map, was completely in the center of the old city. But the winding streets all led us to the wrong place. And now, when the scorching August sun was already completely below us, we, with grief, found our shelter in two.
As expected, Turkish cleanness accepted us with open arms, and even wiped our feet on us. The bed was stained, the dust lay on all available surfaces, the bathroom was covered with a fungus, from which then I was panting at night. But just as we just wanted to lie down and cool down, we decided not to argue with the usual order for them.
After a while, we went on to get acquainted with the city. Naturally, first of all they went to the famous mosques. Oh yeah! They cause only pleasant sensations. Their scale amazes, architecture fascinates, and understanding their age is a delight and respect. Inward, we did not want to go in; there was enough external decoration.
Immediately noticeable that around these shrines and purity is maintained and the colors are added.
Our next desire was to get acquainted with the Bosphorus.
We went to the already mentioned fragrant place and found a walking ferry. While the seats were being filled, the time was approaching sunset. This gave more romance and inspiration, which relaxed and calmed after such a busy day.
The first thing that surprised, a lot of local. Even it was slightly uncomfortable to be the only tourists on the first floor, because the small number of tourists who were there, tried to sit on the second (open) floor to see more interesting. But it was cold there, which drove us in.
And, as it seemed to us, such a walk for the locals is not at all familiarizing, but entertaining. It’s the same as for us to go to the park for a walk. Nobody looked out the window, did not admire the sunset, did not consider the architecture of the city, but simply communicated, swayed the children, showed pictures on phones, drank coffee and ate sunflower seeds. All this at the end of the trip turned into a bazaar shouting and running around.
And I, meanwhile, admired the urban landscapes, the fabulous eastern sunset and tried to capture everything on camera. My husband also admired. The first 20 minutes. And the remaining 25 minutes just read the book and was surprised at the noisy conversations around him.
After a walk on the ferry, my husband, after all, persuaded me to buy fish in a loaf. We found a more or less neat place and bought a famous fast food. To say that it is disgusting to say nothing. To me, a lover of fish, it seemed sickening, but to my husband in general. He was sick all night. In general, do not be fooled by something like “mastkhev” in Istanbul, but rather buy something really tasty.
We bought some local cookies. It turns out that our chocolate is much better, no matter how we complain about it.
On the second day our main condition was to get to the Grand Bazaar and buy local sweets and souvenirs. And so they decided to just walk around the city, where, so to speak, will bring.
Leaving the hotel, we decided to turn in the direction of the road, which had not yet been walked. Surprisingly and for the joy of us, we lived very near the sea. Quay in a good way drove us crazy. The marble surface, replaced by playful waves, the slow dance of ships, the wink of the nearby Prince Islands – all this was beckoning to itself and did not let go.
And on the other side of the road are the walls of Constantinople, which also attracts your view, dipping hundreds of years ago and giving a stupefying sense of lost time. And then you and the Sultan’s palace on the hill … And it seems that Roksolana is about to come out and waving his hand, and the sultan will be important to ride out on his horse surrounded by stately soldiers.
And everything would be so fascinating, drawn like a siren’s song, but the scorching sun quickly awakens from a heady sleep and drives away under cover.
Our salvation was the Basilica Cistern. This is truly a fascinating place. Already, only the atmosphere in it is mysterious and a little magical. To leave this cool paradise did not want to, but it was necessary to visit another important place.
Arriving on the main market of the country, we, as I already wrote, understood that we had already been here. However, they decided to join the local life better. Since my husband and I are not at all interested in market relations, for a long time we did not have enough. After 15 minutes of walking, we hurried out to fresh air. Yes, there is something to see on the inside: souvenirs, gold, fabrics, condiments and herbs, forgeries of clothes and bags … But, if you are not going to buy anything, it’s not so much an entertainment event.
Then we just walked the streets, parks, tried local snacks and were surprised at the presence of policemen and guards at every entrance to any public building. Of course, the military and metal detectors are not very used to this. It feels like this building is of national importance, and the entrance is only for the elite. But when you stand next to you and observe who goes there and leaves (as we did), then you realize that these are just such precautions and should not be afraid at all, but, on the contrary, be calm that no accidents will happen.
However, cunning Turks everywhere find tricks and ways of cheating for tourists. Here, for example, this. There is a man in front of you and drops something. You, of course, call him and help. He thanks you, starts talking his teeth and starts to quickly clean your shoes, telling him that he works to raise money for a sick wife. You try to push him away, you say, so he does not clean … But he, like a leech, grabs and until he completes his work, will not stop for a second. And then it requires money.
So, you should not be nice Europeans, but you need to be brazen and wicked, so that no one to you not pestered and did not go by the ears.
Yes, if you are an optimist, then no garbage, stink, homeless, arrogant traders will not spoil your impression of the city. But, if you are a realist, you do not need to rely heavily on impressions, only on the basis of advertising descriptions and praise.
Personally, for us, Istanbul is just another tourist city, which they sell as they can, if only tourism is not extinguished and the economy does not collapse. But we visited there, put a tick and left only in the memories.