We had organised several places to sleep for our stay in Istanbul, but in the end it worked out better for us to find cheap accommodation in the heart of the old town. Which is why we arrived in the busiest and most touristy city I`ve yet been to in Turkey, carrying our massive backpacks, with no place to stay. But amazingly, we were hardly hassled at all and we found a relatively cheap hostel with a cafe within about 10 minutes. Because we are awesome.
Really the only reason to stay in the old town is its proximity to all of the sights one might like to visit, and that is what we were there for, since we only had 3 days.
We saw the Aya Sofya, a church that turned into a mosque that is now, in the interests of secularism, a museum. We saw the underground cistern that used to supply water to the magnificent palace, among other places. And, we saw that magnificent palace, Topkapi Palace, home to many Sultans over the years.
the Basilica Cistern.
one section of the enormous Aya Sofya.
Topkapi Palace...now just imagine the hordes of tourists are peacocks and well dressed royalty.
As well as being very touristy, I wanted to go shopping, so we spent about a day on that mission, which worked out quite well. We also met Sibel`s sister and stayed at her house, which is so far out from the centre of Istanbul that it is an hour from Bulgaria.
Apart from that we ate some seafood, played with some kittens and, on our last morning, had a quick look around both the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Market. But we quickly escaped before the little alleyways became packed with tourists.
Then, goodbye Istanbul for another year, we were on our way to Bangkok, via Cairo.