Central Asia day #2 Istanbul to Bishkek
Woke up after 3 hours at 7 a.m. Boštjan was still sleeping, so I decided to go to the city after the bathroom and breakfast (eggs, hot dogs, cheese, tomatoes,, peppers, juice). At the reception, they ordered me a taxi, a morning ride of 25 minutes. I paid with dollars, 15 $.
I stepped out of a taxi in the Sultanahmet area. I did a classical tour, where I started at Hippodrome (Atmeydanı – Sultanahmet Square) with Serpent Column, two obelisks (Thutmose II. and walled)) and German fountain. On the right side, there was a Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Camii) with 6 minarets and a dome with 4 half domes and blue tiles. I was already inside and it was a long queue to enter so I continued.
From Sultan Ahmet Park there was a great view of the mosque with reflection in the pond. On the opposite side, there is Aja Sophia, another great monument from Byzantine times. At the gates to Topkapi palace turned left into a street with wooden houses. Now I entered Gülhane Park, a great green area in the old town.
At the Bosphorus strait, there is an Ataturk statue with a flag pole. The next part is ugly between the railway and port, Kennedy Cadesi. It improved at Yeni Cami. Tried 5 ATM before one gave me 500 TL (1 € = 28 TL, 6 years ago it was just 4.5). Then I crossed the Galata Bridge occupied by fish restaurants and fishermen. In Galatasaray, I went uphill to Galata Tower.
Next was shopping Ishtikal road, empty on Sunday morning but on busy they it is crossed by 2 mio people. I bought there few souvenirs for 30 TRY-1 €. With the metro drove back towards the Fatih area one station. I didn’t have a card and couldn’t buy a ticket so one local paid for my ticket.
From Golden Horn Bridge I walked to Č-shaped Mısır Çarşısı – an Egyptian bazaar with all the spices. Moved around small streets, and drank lemonade for 30 TRY-1 €, the main Kapalı Çarşı – Grand Bazaar that was closed on Sunday. Some more walking around, and ate one pistachio baklava for 30 TRY-1€. I had enough and took a taxi back to the hotel, 350 TRY-12 €.
On arrival, I met Boštjan. He made a walk in the area around the hotel. We tried the pool, but soon got out, I needed a swimming cap because of my hair? In the room after the shower, it was packing time. Before checking out we had lunch (soup, kebab with rice, puding) and with a shuttle back to airport.
We arrived there too soon there. After all the security checks were done we had still 2.5 hours waiting in a comfy chair with internet (1 hour, need some ticket from machine). At the gate, we found out that again the flight was late, more than 1 hour. Yesterday that would help. This flight was 5 hours with less leg space, and similar food (kofte with cheese) with Heineken. I watched the movie John Wick 4, a bit of sleeping.
We arrived at 3:30 a.m. local time in Bishkek. I bought a SIM for 15 $, a fast net 5 GB, then a slow one. Now we tried to get some sleep before the first bus to town. The bench didn’t agree with my back, so I used all the fast internet for uploads and downloads. Boštjan didn’t mind and slept a few hours.