Monday, 15 August 2016

Turkey Part 3: Sea Life Aquarium and Forum Mall



Not many people will visit an aquarium when they visit Istanbul. If not for 'N', I wouldn't have either because I've already been to an aquarium in Thailand. 
This was our 3rd day in Istanbul and the day we stepped on Istanbul's metro for the first time. 
We asked one of the guys at our hotel's reception for directions to the aquarium.



Get a metro card if you plan on exploring Istanbul, metro tickets are much cheaper that way. We had 2 metro cards, which i borrowed from my brother and cousin but we opted to use only one (you can charge the card as many times in one go) 

Image taken from Google

We left the hotel at 11 am. Walked till Taksim square (5 minutes away). 
Took a metro from taksim to Yenikapi, which is 3 stops away. I dont remember the exact amount for the ticket but it was around 2.5-3 TL (88-106 PKR / 0.3- 0.4 OMR). It took 15-20 minutes to reach Yenikapi. 

Waiting for a train at Taksim metro station


Follow the arrows (or ask someone) for the way to the Airport line. Don't to go all the way out, you'll find the way within the metro station.
From Yenikapi take the airport line to Kocatepe, which is 4-5 stops away. The mall is right outside the station. The aquarium is in the mall as well. 
So we spent some time at the aquarium, roamed the mall and had lunch at the food court.

Tickets for the aquarium are 48 TL per adult (6.200 OMR / 1700 PKR), Child (3-14 years) is 37 TL (4.900 OMR/ 1300 PKR)
Jellyfish, they are so mesmerizing to watch.



How gorgeous is his leopard print stingray!




Tunnel






As you can see we were quite fascinated with the sharks :D




We found nemo!





We had lunch at Otantik Kumpir in the food court.
Kumpir is the ultimate baked potato with butter, cheese and a whole range of toppings. Its delicious! 
Kumpir was 13 TL each (1.700 OMR/ 460 PKR)
I had it thrice during the course of our trip! :D

Kumpir
Outside the mall


Ikea is right across the street from the mall.

We were pretty excited to go to Ikea, ask me why! 
We do not have Ikea in Oman (yes, you heard that right). We have everything but no ikea, nada. 
We bought fruity candles, nothing else.

Anyway, we came back to the hotel around 6 pm. 
Dinner that day was a basic doner from Taksim Park Restaurant at Istiklal street.

Taksim Square

Doner
Well, this was day 3.
Stay tuned for Turkey Part 4: Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace

See You!


Monday, 18 July 2016

Turkey Part 2: From Istiklal Street to Galata Bridge



Day 2 started bright and early.
We woke around 7, went upstrairs to put food in our bellies (YOLO, yeah right!)
Breakfast spread was incredible!!
So many things to EAT!!
As you can see, i was pretty excited. More so that i clicked a picture of my breakfast EVERYDAY! but thats for another post!


My Plate

 We had beautiful view of the city while we had breakfast


And this guy eyeing out food!


We headed out after breakfast.

Outside our hotel.

 Taksim Square was 5 minute walk from our hotel.

Taksim Square





Istiklal street itself is about 1.5 km with alot of shops and restaurants on both sides.
After crossing all this you enter a smaller street which had a lot of shops that sell guitars and other music related stuff (zero knowledge about all this, so 'music related stuff' would suffice),
loads of souvenir shops there too. Have a look around but I'd suggest not to buy, you'd find the exact same thing in Grand Bazaar at a much cheaper price and so many variety to choose from. So have a little patience and move on!
But if you do see someone selling fresh fruits, try the strawberries, they are incredible, so big and juicy and oh-so-sweet, nothing like you've ever tasted in Pakistan! 
Bought this box of strawberries for 5 TL (0.650 OMR / 176 PKR)



Istiklal street

Me, in front of Galata Tower and please don't forget the garbage bin behind me.

Small street leading upto Galata Bridge

You'll pass Galata Tower on the way to Galata Bridge, it is usually always crowded but that day there was nobody there because of the rain. We didnt go to the top thinking we'd go some other day when its bright and sunny.
Keep walking further down small narrow streets, these streets would slope downwards, so be careful!

In the end the street would open up to a busy sidewalk, with Galata bridge on your right.
It is such a gorgeous sight!

Street going to Galata Bridge
The walk from Taksim Square to Galata bridge was about 3 km (Dont forget to take your runners)
If you cant walk this much, you can take a Funicular from Taksim Square to Kabatas than a tram from there to Karakoy.

We walked on the bridge, the whole view was so picturesque, birds flying around, blue water, with lots of boats, ferries and loads of people!
A whole line of restaurants run below the bridge. It was still early in the day so we didn't stop for lunch, and they looked deserted, like no customer, nada. 

Below Galata Bridge

Galata Tower from the bridge
We crossed the bridge, bought a grilled corn and went in a ferry for a trip to the Bosphorus bridge, the weather was beautiful, so we thought why not.
The ticket per person was 12 TL (1.500 OMR / 415 PKR)
Being the geniuses that we are, we decided to sit upstairs area which was open and it got cold pretty quick!
We were freeeezing!
But we did manage to take some really nice photos, so totally worth it! :D

Grilled corn







Bosphorus Bridge connecting Europe and Asia


We came downstairs to sit in a warm and toasty cafe after we captured a good amount of photos of us making awkward poses and yeah, some scenery too.
The whole trip took round 2 hours.

Reaching back to Eminonu, we opted to have a lunch of the famous Balik Ekmek (Fish sandwich), which by the way 'N' did not like at all. She had a Doner Sandwich from a nearby doner place.
The sandwiches are made on a very fancy decorated boat, which just adds to the attraction. The sandwich itself if just a piece of grilled fish with lettuce in a thick bread. You can add a dash of lemon juice, which is provided at the table. The price of the sandwich was 8 TL ( 1 OMR / 277 PKR)
I liked it!
It was simple, fresh and yum!
It was difficult to get the fishy smell out my hands after that though, had to wash my hands many time, use sanitizer, even used a perfume. Too 'wehmi' 

Guys selling Balik Ekmek
Balik Ekmek


Pineapple Slice for dessert. 1 TL each.

We walked back to the hotel to rest for a bit. We've already walked for 8 km, my feet were about to fall off. So tired.
Went out again after 2 hours for some tea and dinner.




We had traditional Turkish Tea with Simit(Turkish Bagel) that we bought from red carts that you'd find all over Istiklal street. Tea was 2 TL for a cup and 1 TL for Simit.

Dinner that day was Islak from Taksim Park Restaurant at Istiklal Street. Burger filled with spicy beef patty and the whole thing is dunked in tomato sauce. Its soo good!
Cost 3 TL each (0.400 OMR / 105 PKR)
Its a must have if you go to Turkey!

Islak Burger

Overall day 2 went pretty good. we tried loads of food, bought a few things, got really tired with all the walking. 
We came to the hotel around 9:30 ready to crash, and i was asleep before my head hit the pillow!

Thats all for today.
I'll leave you with a few pictures of Isiklal Street at night and a picture of me of course.