On Wednesday I decided to become one of those lazy tourists, not a traveller, and bought a ticket for the hop-on-hop-off bus, to be more effective while sightseeing.
After the breakfast in the bus with Merve on her way to work, and a coffee and my favorite orange juice near Sultanahmet Square together with one of maaany kitties I would like to take home, I boarded the bus and, crossing the city center, went to Istanbul Modern Art Museum.
I am not a museum person. It sounds bad, but I would rather spend 10 euros on a good dinner than entering the historical or archeological museum (I just hate them), but I am really keen on modern art. I really admire how creative some people are! And I was lucky, cause I also could take part in Istanbul Biennale exhibition, which also made a good impression on me.
Afterwards I took a long route by the bus – crossing some interesting districts of the city, going through the bridge to the Asian side and a palace. Then I needed to take an Uber, cause the bus did not go to the place where Merve and Sevnur recommended me to go to it – Ortakoy. There is one particular street there, where they sell huge (bigger than your head!) baked potatoes with various feelings. I went for cheese, butter, olives, corn and couscous. It was great! Another typical thing is a huge waffle – with Nutella, fresh strawberries and bananas. I was so full afterwards!
I walked a bit to burn calories and took a bus again, to check the northern part of the city where many mosques and museums are. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to go to Miniaturk – museum of miniature sculptures of famous Turkish buildings, as I was supposed to meet friends back in Sultanahmet (or SultanMehmet, as I kept calling it) Square.
Esmerjan was my Erasmus student back in Lodz around 2 years ago. He comes from Albania, but studies Marketing in Turkey and speaks many languages. He is also my twin brother – the only person I know who is born on 10/09 like me! Unfortunately he just had one hour for me (business meeting with a girl with nice long legs xD), but we managed to keep up with our lives quite a lot.
Then I met Kemal – lovely Turkish guy whom I met, like Merve, in Sweden during my Erasmus. We attended quite a few courses together and it was very funny not to see him there. He was one of a few people who – during their stay in Sweden – spent more time abroad than in Sweden, travelling with their fresh Schengen visa.
Kemal was in tourist guide mode, but unfortunately it was evening already and my legs hurt, so we just went to Grand Bazaar and next sat down in a nice coffee shop on the rooftop, with nargile and panorama view for the whole city. He also took me for dinner, but Turkey is not a place for vegetarians. Hummus with vegetables and roasted eggplant salad (from cold starters page of the menu) were the only non-kebab things.
Afterwards Merve, who left work super late, joined us and we started pre-partying. It was so great, it almost felt like Sweden again! Especially that we headed for the Erasmus party. Akademien (club in Sweden) – Istanbul edition! We also planned to feel like Erasmus again and decided to pretend to be Russian, Spanish and Portuguese for this night, but no one spoke to us :(.
Both clubs we have been in had inbuilt auto-selection: they were located in narrow old-school buildings on stone streets. Dance floors were located on 4 floors. If someone was too drunk, they would never make it inside!
Second party turned out to be even more Erasmus, due to the high extend of body fluids exchange between the swingers, but it was fun anyway 😀 Music was great too!
We were so lucky that Kemal has his car in Istanbul and his stomach does not handle alcohol, as he drove us all the way back home. However we promised each other that the next time we finish the party in his hometown – Antalya, which is the Miami or Hawaii of Turkey.
Next day – surprise surprise – we woke up very late and very dead, but Merve needed to go to school and I needed to be productive.
I visited the Hagia Sofia museum (very impressive, it’s so cool knowing that it was built around 500-600 years A.C.!), Basilica Cistern (lame, just a huge dark basement with water on the floor and weird smell), didn’t succeed to visit Tokapi palace (due to the huge line) and Ataturk palace (as it was closed). I ate a great grilled fish with salad in bread, though! Turkey is not only about kebab.
In the afternoon I met Merve in the district called Taksim – really modern and hipster place, full of tourists, young people, book markets, coffee shops and lovely architecture. We walked a lot (according to my iPhone I was doing at least 15 km in Istanbul every day!) and entered Galata Tower with a huge crowd and impressive view. It was the first time for Merve too!
Next she forced me to eat Turkish dessert – super sweet Baklava made of pistachios. I was so afraid that they added some walnuts by mistake, but I kept eating it even the next day in the flight.
We also drunk a couple of beers and gossiped a lot about how handsome the Turkish waiters are.
We came back home exhausted. Again I almost slept in the bus! And people were staring at me like in India, as I was sitting on the floor… Well, it is normal in India but not in Europe! By the way – I have no idea what Turkish people do with their lives… No matter what time it is, the buses and trams are FULL. And the solution for that would be to introduce more buses into circulations… But they already come every minute! Good that Lodz is not like this, I would get crazy.
Merve’s mum gave us a delicious veg dinner and I finally liked Ayran – Turkish yoghurt. I think it was just original, not like a strange waterish substance I tried in Sweden. I still hate Raki – the herbal alcohol, though.
I slept early as I needed to wake up at 4:30 next morning… My flight to Bucharest and then Warsaw was at 10, but getting from European side of Istanbul to the airport on the Asian side is more complicated than getting from Lodz to Warsaw…
Luckily my travel went pretty smooth, I just needed to pay 10 USD for 2 additional kilograms in my luggage… If that poor lady knew about my other backpack which I was hiding behind the counter not to pay for it… 😀
It felt good to be in European Union in Romania! I could call my parents and not worry about the cost, as the roaming in UE is not charged extra since this summer. And I was laughing at Elizka when she called me from Amsterdam on her way back from India, but she was right: people in Europe are tall and white, everything smells nice and the real workers are working on real work! It was nice to be back in safe, developed and comfortable environment (although after India Istanbul was very European too! I wonder what would be my opinion if I came there directly from Europe, not from Asia).
I landed in Warsaw at 14:25 and happily taken ModlinBus back to Lodz!
Yes, it is happening! The graceless kid is coming back to her homeland for the period longer than 2 weeks for the first time in 2017! And of course – directly to attend Latino party!