Turkey
Istanbul

Here you’ll find travel reports about Istanbul. Discover travel destinations in Turkey of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

111 travelers at this place:

  • Day114

    We are still tired today and leave Istanbul very late. Even though we take the tram to the last station, we cycle a one hour along the Bosphorus to finally leave the central part of this gigantic city. We pass some nice villas. Ahmet recommended us to take the boat to the other side, so we enjoy to travel to the Asian continent on the water.

    Directly on the other side, it leads up the hill so steeply (20%?), it is impossible to ride. So a lot of walking and sweating changes with great panoramic views and small villages with a lot of fruits and vegetables. The black fig trees just get ripe and pomegranade trees grow here as well. Both are fresh absolutely delicious.

    By chance we end up at Marias place in Polonezköy. The village is a polish enclave in Turkey. Maria is 74, runs a pension and speaks perfectly German. The village is based on polish ancestors, is mainly catholic and they eat pork. We learn about the history and how her relatives have build the village from nothing after fleeing the war. Once, her sister even danced with Atatürk. We even get a tour by the mayor (relative of Maria) in his private museum. Very interesting :)

    Goal for tomorrow: Back to black...sea
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  • Day112

    Hospitality

    August 25 in Turkey

    Hospitality of the people we meet is overwhelming. Our senses get flooded with impressions in this vibrant city. Even though it was Bayram, the center is packed with crowds. (Bayram = official holiday and many shops closed and people are in Mekka or with their families.)

    'You can stay as long as you want' our warmshower host Ahmet tells us and even gives us all his keys for his flat! :D Thank you, we are absolutely astonished :):) And we hope to host back another day!

    After a typical turkish breakfast with Ahmet (Simit, Tea, Tomatoes, etc.) Jo's hair and beard gets cut while Wi get served Turkish coffee and cold water. Service level is on the very top end in Turkey in our perception. We would like to bring a bit of it home. ;)

    We stroll endlessly with Paddy and David on the Grand Bazaar, read Arabic books and then continue on the Spice Bazaar today. It is so colorful, lively and tasty! A pity we can not take much on the bikes but it was successful shopping.

    Then, we are invited to the brother of Wis friend who lives in the east of Istanbul. We have an impressive dinner and get to know his family. We feel already offered soo much but of course they insist to even bring us to the metro station and we cannot pay for the 'taksi'.

    After that, we are happy to meet our host again. He takes us to local street food places and shows us the Taksim square and Galata tower. Again, crowds of people, more arabic influence, impressive views.

    Tired but happy we go to sleep.
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  • Day27

    How bazaar!

    October 17 in Turkey

    Today we travelled over 2000 years in less than a day as we toured the ancient and contemporary city of Istanbul. There are a few mega-cities on the planet and Istanbul is certainly one of them. With over 15 million people living in this bustling metropolis you certainly notice that number when you hit the road. That's when it seems that every resident owns a car and all of them are heading exactly where you want to go. In Auckland this would cause complete gridlock, but here the drivers just get on with it and wriggle and swerve into spaces you'd swear they'd never fit, but the end result is the flow of traffic continues. After 45 minutes we arrived in the centre of old Istanbul and began our walking tour of this ancient place. We began with the Blue mosque, a massive holy building that is over 400 years old. Just next door is the Topkapi Palace, former home to the Ottoman Sultans who ruled their empire from this seat of power starting in the 15th century. Next was the Sultan Ahmed mosque, another ancient holy building, but one which is still used as a place of worship. This means that all women must wear a headscarf to enter, which Jean was pretty excited about. To a westerner this seems a little old-fashioned, but on the same notice was a rule I can get on board with, no leggings or yoga pants are permitted in the building. Now, can we just export this rule to New Zealand please. After our dose of culture we headed to Istanbul's most famous shopping centre. In Istanbul even this has a historical twist, as the shopping centre in question was the Grand Bazaar, the world's largest covered market, which has been in continual operation since 1455. Over 90 million people visit this market every year and from the hustle and bustle when we visited it seemed they might have all arrived on the one day. The bazaar is a great place to get a bargain, if you are practiced in the ancient sport of haggling. Half the stalls seem to be selling counterfeit handbags, shirts or football shirts but there are also plenty of Turkish specialties such as rugs, gold and of course Turkish Delight and Baklava. Even before we were within a kilometre of the bazaar we were propositioned by numerous guys trying to sell us their traditional hand knotted rugs. They were persistent and had all the answers to natural objections such as price or no way to get it home. I resorted to telling them that I was violently allergic to any kind of hand made textiles. This eventually did the trick and we continued unmolested. We continued wandering the old cobbled lanes of central Istanbul and made our way down to the impressive waterfront, where you can look from Europe across to Asia. Two continents in one photo, now that's priceless. After admiring the serenity we caught our last taxi ride of this trip back to our hotel. Maybe fate knew this was our last ride because he sent us a doozy. Our driver spoke no English, which is fair enough as I speak bugger all Turkish, but this did make explaining our destination challenging. I bring up the photo and address of our hotel on my phone and point to it in a friendly manner. Normally this works, not today. There are two hotels in Istanbul with names that are very similar. They are in the same hotel chain. Even after reading my phone screen our driver took us to the wrong one. But at least we rode the wrong way at hyper speed. I swear he hit 150kms in some stretches, which was exhilarating. If Formula 1 is ever short of drivers just pick any 5 Istanbul taxi drivers and they'll have their guys. After the wrong hotel we eventually arrived at our correct destination, paid the driver and chillaxed in our room. Tomorrow we begin the long haul home. Aotearoa we're on our way!Read more

  • Day172

    Istanbul

    August 3 in Turkey

    Wir hatten dank unseres tollen Gastgebers Mehmet eine Super Zeit in Istanbul und durften etwas in das Local Leben (Vor allem in Punkto Essen).

    Doch auch die Touristen Plätze wie die Hagia Sophia, die blaue Moschee oder die Basilika Zisterne waren beeindruckend.

    Tolle Stadt!

  • Day156

    Türkei

    July 18 in Turkey

    Es dauerte ein wenig an der Grenze, doch die Einreiße in die Türkei verlief problemlos.
    Wir fuhren durch Camlihemsin, ein Stadt umgeben von grünen Bergen und einem Fluss, an dem alle 200m ein anders Rafting Geschäft mit ZIP line steht...
    In einem kleinen Bergdorf stoppten wir am Zua Kaffee und machten uns anschließend auf die Schlafplatz Suche.
    Am nächsten morgen brachen wir früh auf um zur nahegelegenen Burg Zikale zu fahren, anschließend stoppten wir wieder am Kaffe und luden uns mehr oder weniger selbst zum Frühstück ein. 3 Kaffee´s, ein Frühstück, einem Frisch gebackenen Bananenbrot und 4,5h später fuhren wir auch schon weiter.

    Auf dem Weg in Richtung Istanbul stoppten wir am Kloster Sumela. Ein Altes Gebäude (Angeblich Eröffnet 386n. Chr.) das direkt an eine Felswand gebaut wurde.
    Anstatt nach oben zu fahren, nahmen wir die Füße in die Hand und liefen knapp 1h immer Bergauf zum Kloster hoch - dort angekommen sagte man uns wir sollen nochmal in einem Jahr kommen (Renovierungsarbeiten...)

    In der 3. Nacht fanden wir einen Super Schlafplatz direkt an der Schwarzmeer Küste.
    Der Tag endete und begann damit im Meer zu baden :)

    Nach 4 Tage und ca. 1400km Strecke sind wir in Istanbul angekommen, wo wir Mehmet (den wir in Cambodia kennenlernten) am Flughafen abholten und gemeinsam in die 15 Mil. Menschen Metropole einfuhren.
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  • Day12

    The twice daily train from Izmir to Bandirma Port, known as the Eylül Express, left punctually at 14.00. The term Express was a bit of a misnomer as it trundled along so slowly at times that it might have been quicker walking along its single track. The train however was modern and air-conditioned, and I was glad I had made a free seat reservation as it was extremely busy. Relaxing with a welcome cup of chai from the trolley, the silence was broken by the wailing of 3 toddlers who appeared to take it in turns to scream at the top of their voices, much to the delight of their families, especially one granny, who beamed with delight every time one of them let go with a particularly prolonged outburst. Ah well, it’s only a 7 hour journey, I consoled myself. Two of the babies got off (with their parents) after 3 hours, but shock horror, another 3 got on! What is this - a baby boom? Is the telly so bad in Turkey? I searched my emergency medical kit: paracetamol, Diocalm, Ex-Lax - but no sign of Calpol or even Nurse Harvey’s Gripe Mixture. Lesson learned - be better prepared.

    The scenery was pleasant if unspectacular, and the Turkish countryside was lined with olive orchards for much of the way, with minarets dotting the villages and towns we passed through. The sun was beating down and it was nice to enjoy the cool of the carriage. In spite of the modern comfortable seating accommodation, the loo on the train was another story - literally a hole in the floor for squatting. I was wishing I had purchased one of the pads displayed on the mannequin in the pharmacy outside the station (see photo).

    What’s this? Only five hours after departure and all the little tots have dropped off to sleep. Bless the little darlings, they’re no bother at all.

    On arrival at its northern terminus at Bandirma, I made my way just across the street to the Panderma Port Hotel, an old inn full of character with a large double room facing the front. The interior was dimly lit and the colour scheme was from the 1970s - all browns and creams with illumination coming from 40 Watt bulbs. I could scarcely see the keyhole to my room in the dimness, but the fact I still had my sunglasses on didn’t help. I was pleased to see a late night café still open and made my way there, only to realise that 100 yards (or is it metres?) along the street there was a huge Blackpool-like resort waiting to be enjoyed. A sizeable funfair opened onto a veritable sea of attractions - side shows, candy floss stalls, tattoo parlours, outdoor theatres, hotels and literally hundreds of eating places. There was even an illuminated suspension bridge. The place was thronged with thousands of people all out enjoying themselves. For the first time on my trip I felt a bit out of place - you need company to enjoy funfairs and the like. Young people were queuing up to buy food from takeaway stalls - barbecued corn on the cob and what looked like pickled cucumbers.

    I opted for the safer option of a McDonald’s. Sitting outside people-watching in the still warm evening air, I watched four girls at a table in front of me, all made up to the nines, wearing the best designer gear, showing each other YouTube clips on their top of the range mobile phones, and generally having a good laugh. They got up and left without clearing their table. Seconds later two teenage boys came over and appeared to start clearing up. However they were actually emptying the leftovers of the fries into a packet each, and the dregs of the soft drinks into a cup each and made off with their complimentary Happy Meal. An old lady, heavily wrinkled and stooped with age berated them, waving her stick and shouting something unintelligible. She then sat at the table and proceeded to pick at the remaining scraps left by the young vultures. They had beat her to it. Such an illustration of wealth and poverty at one table in the space of five minutes.

    In the centre of it all, amidst the noise and hustle and bustle of the crowd, the Crier called the faithful to prayer from his minaret, high above the Sodom and Gomorrah scene below. The amplified sound was deafening.

    My comfortable stay at the Panderma Port included a substantial breakfast, all for £27. The three friendly waitresses rushed to greet me, the only diner in a room which was set for 50. ‘You would like an omelette?’ the eldest one said ‘with eggs and cheese?’ Well certainly with eggs I thought. ‘And what about some cheeses? This one is my favourite - and this one too’. By this time my plate was groaning with several large cubes of identical looking (and tasting) white cheese. When I returned to my table the omelette had arrived, complete with eggs and cheese, and tasted delicious. Some Turkish tea arrived in one of the fine fluted glasses I had become accustomed to, and which at home might be used to display small bunches of freesia. This version was very strong like Builder’s Tea, and tasted as if it had been stewing in a can for a fortnight. I gulped it down quickly and went back to the buffet for baklava, returning to see my Builder’s Tea being replenished with a smile.

    Thus fortified, I made my way to the IDO Ferry for the 10.00 sailing across the Sea of Marmara to Istanbul. What a great way to arrive in this grand city. I made my way to my hotel - the Senator, only to discover it had been taken over by Holiday Inn. It had all been refurbished and the room was terrific. I headed off to see the Grand Bazaar which I had missed on my last visit as it was closed. What an amazing place! Then a walk to the Sultanahmet area and a visit to see the Blue Mosque and the ginormous Hagia Sophia. Although both still magnificent, there was a lot of renovation work going on. Took one of Istanbul’s clean, efficient trams to the Galata Bridge and had fish for dinner in one of the many seafood restaurants. It was a lovely sunny evening and I enjoyed looking over the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus where numerous ferries plied their way back and forth. I’ll maybe pop over to Asia for lunch tomorrow.

    I discovered my hotel had a Hamam (Turkish Bath) available, and I took advantage of it to rejuvenate myself after walking about the hot streets all day. Bliss…
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  • Day111

    Reunion in Istanbul

    August 24 in Turkey

    David und Paddy, aus der Heimat, sind auch gerade in Istanbul :). So haben wir den Tag gemeinsam mit Sightseeing verbracht. Eine beeindruckende Stadt!
    Abends ging es dann noch in das Sceneviertel (Besiktas), wo wir ein cooles Biker-Dachterrassen-Restaurant gefunden haben. Anschließend sind wir ein zweites Mal in die Jokar19 Bar gegangen, weil die Cocktails einfach so gut waren.

  • Day113

    Ahmets Stadtführung

    August 26 in Turkey

    Nach einem Brunch mit Ahmet (hat sich mit Ahmet der Terrorist vorgestellt, in Anlehnung an das deutsche Puppenspiel), ging es zum versunkenen Palast.
    Unnützes Wissen: der versunkene Palast wurde 500 n. Chr. gebaut und diente als Trinkwasserspeicher 100.000 Tonnen). Nach der Eroberung von Istanbul durch die Osmanen im Jahr 1453 geriet die Zisterne langsam in Vergessenheit. Die Osmanen bauten ihr eigenes Bewässerungsystem. Ein fließendes. 100 Jahre später kam ein holländischer Reisender nach Istanbul, um die byzantinischen Ruinen zu erforschen. Durch die Erwähnung der Zisterne in seinem Reisebericht, erlangte diese fortan an Bedeutung. Seitem wurde sie mehrfach saniert und ist seit 1987 für die öffentliche Besichtigung zugänglich.
    Danach hat uns Ahmed über 8 Stunden durch die Stadt geführt, er hatte uns vorgewarnt. Durch seine fröhliche Art und sein enormes Wissen, hatten wir einen sehr schönen Tag.
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  • Day115

    Auf dem Weg zum Mittagsstop in Sile begegneten uns auf der sonst so leeren Straße sehr viele freundliche LKWs. In Sile wurde das erste Mal auf türkischer Seite im Schwarzen Meer angebadet. Östlich von Sile ist die Autobahn noch nicht fertig. Hier wird fleißig gebaut. So durften wir die zahlreichen Brücken und Tunnels bergauf und bergab im Slalom umfahren.
    Abends auf dem Campingplatz trafen wir ein Ehepaar, Didel und Hartmut mit ihrem Geländecaravan, aus Ratzeburg. Es war schön mal unerwartet jemanden mit Moin Moin begrüßen zu können. Wir wurden prompt bekocht! Es gab so viel zu erzählen, dass der Abend wie im Flug verging.Read more

  • Day7

    Ein Vormittag in Instanbul....mit Jessi

    December 10, 2017 in Turkey

    Mittlerweile haben meine Tage einen sehr angenehmen Rhythmus bekommen. Leider regnet es heute Vormittag ( voraussichtlich aber nur bis 12.00 Uhr ) und so verzichte ich auf den liebgewonnen Morgenspaziergang und bleibe im Gästehaus - die Reisetasche muß eh noch für den morgigen Heimflug gepackt werden. Gerade stelle ich mir vor, wie denn so ein typischer Vormittag in Istanbul mit Jessi ausgesehen hätte. Natürlich ist das nur eine fiktive Geschichte - jede Ähnlichkeit mit lebenden oder blablabla etc! Zur Jahreszeit passend.....eine Art "Orientalische Weihnachtsgeschichte":
    Es sind schon knapp drei Stunden vergangen, seit der Muezzin zum Morgengebet aufgerufen hat. Kurz vor 9.00 Uhr sitze ich am Frühstückstisch und blicke auf den Bosporus. Es ist heute sehr windig - mit weißer Gischt schlagen die Wellen der Meerenge an die Ufer. "Morgii" höre ich es plötzlich neben mir - ein kleines Wunder, Jessi ist tatsächlich schon wach - das hätte ich nicht erwartet! Obwohl, wach ist die falsche Beschreibung - anwesend passt da schon besser - der Gesichtsausdruck meiner Tochter sagt eher Nachtii! "Na du, gut geschlafen"? antworte ich - "Mogsch mr, kannsch net zeigä"? Unser übliches Vater / Tochter Geplapper welches eh niemand versteht, der uns nicht kennt. Es wird Zeit, sich wieder meinem Frühstück zuzuwenden und die Kommunikation für's Erste einzustellen - Jessis genervter Gesichtsausdruck macht dies unmißverständlich klar. Der Aufbruch zum geplanten Spaziergang inklusive Shopping auf dem "Ägyptischen Basar" wird sich, so meine Erschätzing um kurz nach 9.30 Uhr, auf jeden Fall verzögern - es stehen noch wichtige Geschäfte / Bedürfnisse an, die erst vollzogen werden müssen. Jeden Morgen das gleiche Prozedere - inklusiver erfolgreicher Vollzugsmeldung! Wie im Kindergarten - ich werde noch wahnsinnig! Fast nicht zu glauben, aber eine Stunde später sind wir dann doch unterwegs. Ich leite Jessica beschwichtigend am "Arasta Basar", gleich beim Gästehaus um die Ecke liegend vorbei, lenke dabei erfolgreich mit meinem Halbwissen über die "Sultan Ahmet Moschee" von etwaigen Kaufinteressen ab und dränge sie an dem Prachtbau vor uns liegend, geschickt nach rechts in Richtung "Hagia Sophia". Auf den nächsten 500 Meter drohen keine weiteren Verzögerungen, da höchstens ein Kastanien- oder Maiskolben-Verkäufer unseren Weg kreuzen kann. Als ich den Simitverkäufer, der sich sehr geschickt hinter einem Kastanienwagen platziert hat entdecke, ist es schon zu spät! "Daaaaad" tönt es von rechts - "Schmeckiii"! OK denke ich mir, ein Sesamkringel passt immer und kaufe gleich zwei davon. Es geht weiter, jetzt sind Konzentration und Taktik angesagt, denn vor uns liegt die "gefährliche" Strecke in Richtung Fähranleger "Eminömü" - dort sind jede Menge Krimskrams Läden mit Blödsinn im Sale zu finden. Sorry, aber dazu fehlt mir heute die Geduld! Ich versuche mit geschickter Rhetorik Jessica eine "Abkürzung" schmackhaft zu machen. Sie trottet mir hinterher, aber ich glaube, daß sie den Trick bemerkt hat. Egal, noch einen Kilometer bis zum Ziel - wir liegen ganz gut in der Zeit und haben noch nichts eingekauft. Ganz klar ein erster Etappensieg für mich, aber die Schlacht ist noch nicht gewonnen! Um die nächste Ecke dann ein herber Rückschlag, der viel Zeit kosten wird! "Daaaaad" tönt es wieder neben mir "Gaiiil....Megges...Schmeckii"! Ich kapituliere - gegen Mac Donalds, bzw. Mac Café habe ich keinerlei Chancen, das hat sich dieses Frühjahr schon deutlich in Rom gezeigt. Selbstverständlich wird vor dem Kauf des beliebten Heissgetränks noch intensiv die Toilette des Schnellrestaurants genutzt - im Anschluss daran natürlich mit der gewohnt, erfolgreichen Vollzugsmeldung! Wenig später haben wir dann tatsächlich den "Gewürzbasar" erreicht. Es ist 12.35 Uhr - endlich am Ziel - obwohl, der Wahnsinn beginnt ja erst! Mal sehen wer nach dem sicherlich erfolgreichen Einkaufsevent, die meistens der "Schätze" zurück zum Gästehaus tragen darf?! Ich höre es schon wieder schallen: "Daaaaad"!
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You might also know this place by the following names:

İstanbul, Istanbul, اسطنبول, Истанбул, Ισταμπούλ, Provincia de Estambul, イスタンブール, Стамбул, 伊斯坦布尔

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