If you’ve been following my blogs (subliminal message: follow my blog), you’ll see I’ve been testing out my new camera 🙂 But enough of that. Let’s talk turkey. My last business trip (blog on how to survive really, really, really long business trips coming soon) took me on a 9 hour layover in Istanbul. Be aware that I pack a lot of stuff into my trips, so 9 hours is plenty of time to leave the airport, see 75% of the major tourists sites, have dinner, make it back through security, use the lounge showers and still make frequent trips to the snack bar all on 4 hours of sleep.
I booked a great guide at Private Tours Istanbul (big shout out to Alina for organising and Ender for guiding) and they picked us up from the airport (quicker and cheaper than a cab and best choice when you have luggage) and took us right to city centre (old town). Despite the fact that we came in late afternoon on a Sunday when all the museums close at 6-ish and the Bazaar is closed as well, Ender made sure we saw at least 1 museum (Topkapi palace) and a walking tour of the outside of so much other stuff, my head is still spinning. And we had dinner too. Apologies in advance to Ender – I don’t remember all the facts and figures you told us so all historical mistakes in this blog are mine.
So, we headed into the Palace, which are actually extensive and elaborate grounds, not just a building. Not only are many jewels and artifacts kept here like a museum, the buildings and grounds of Justice and the Harem are here too.
From the balconies, you can get panoramic views of the Bosphorus and see some of the other palaces on the neighbouring shores. Also have a good view of the Asia side of Istanbul!
Outside, on our way to the hippodrome, you can see the Haggia Sophia on the right
And the Blue Mosque on the left. Along with local characters.
Another interesting tidbit is the zero mile marker where all the roads started. You can walk around it and try to find your city!
Night fell as we strolled along the hippodrome to the great obelisk at one end.
And off to one side, we could enter the public courtyard of the Blue Mosque. Prayers had already started so we didn’t go in, but sat on the outside admiring the graceful architecture
But at last, it was time to leave and find dinner 🙂