Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Where did you say you were from?

Calistigim yerin Uluslararasi Toplulugu'nun her ay cikardigi haber bulteni icin Istanbul hakkinda bir yazi yazdim. Ne zamandir koyacagim, unutup duruyorum. Aklimdayken ilistiriveriyorum suraya...Bir de bu hafta dersler, onumuzdeki hafta sinavlar, sonraki hafta tasinmacalar, sonraki bir ay sinavlar vs vs hicbir soz vermem ben buraya size mis mis yemek tarifleri yazicam diye! Deli miyim ben? :) Ama Gallerden yardim cagrilari yapabilirim tabi, bakalim...

Sevgiler, saygilar, gunesli erikli gunler :)

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Oh, I said I'm from Turkey! Yes, you know it right! It's the country that everybody knows with the beautiful coast and where most of the people don't want to believe that there are some ski resorts as well. It's the country welcomes you on the busses in London and in the TV ads on BBC! It's where it's quite easy to get a visa and quite cheap to arrive with new tariffs on budget airlines. So, it might be a good idea to give it a second thought for the upcoming Easter holiday (or maybe around May time when all Bosphorus is covered with pretty purple flowers).

It's a huge country with lots of quite different holiday opportunities and you can find these in detail on the net. Here, I'll only focus on Istanbul, which is great city to discover if you're looking for a short city break. Though I can't promise for a calm relaxing trip (with 12 million people living in a city!), I can guarantee that you'll have an unforgettable journey.

As a city, which had been the capital for the Byzantine and Ottoman Empire for hundreds of years and then faced with the modern Republic of Turkey, Istanbul is a combination of cultures. There are so many things to do, so many places to see and so many delicious food to taste. That’s why I’ll try to give the top ones that you shouldn’t miss :)

Let’s start from the beginning:

Best time to visit:

Either Spring or early-Autumn like September. I know that it’s difficult to believe but Turkey is a really cold country in winter and Istanbul is extremely hot in summer that you don’t really want to go outside. So, May-early June-September are the best months to enjoy it.

How to get there?

Easy Jet is generally the cheapest, besides you can try Pegasus Airlines as another budget airlines. If you’re lucky enough, you can also find some cheap tickets from Travelocity or Opodo for Turkish Airlines or British Airways. It takes only 3,5 hrs from London.

How to travel in the city?

There are shuttles called Havas going from the airport to the Asian and European side of the city. It’s a bit expensive compared to other ways such as the light railway but much more convenient and time-saving.

During your stay, you can use busses, tube and ferries – especially if you’re crossing the Bosphorus. Travelling via ferry is a must-to-do in Istanbul, just order a Turkish tea, buy a simit (a special type of pasty with sesame seeds) and enjoy the scenery with sea gulls!

You can also use cabs in the city but keep in mind that the traffic jam is one of the most important problem in Istanbul, so it’s better to spend as less time as possible on travelling.

Where to stay?

First of all, it’s very difficult to define a city centre in Istanbul! That’s why it’s very difficult to give a particular advice for accommodation too. If you’re rich enough, I’ll recommend one of the hotels with sea view, there’re some really famous ones, e.g. Ciragan Kempinski, yet very (!!!) expensive. Still, you should try the area around Ortakoy to have a luxurious accommodation. Otherwise, if you want to stay in the historical side, Sultanahmet is the place; and if you want to party every night and don’t want to spend so much time going back to your hotel, then you should try Taksim.

Must see tourist places?

I’ll give you some names and it’s your homework to find them in your guide ;)

Sultanahmet: Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Basilica, Grand Bazaar – If you want to do some shopping in Grand Bazaar, don’t hesitate to use some of your negotiation skills! There’s always a discount opportunity and if you use some Turkish names, this will help you to build up some sympathy with the seller! Just talk about your lovely colleague, of course myself :), back in the UK and how close we’re bla bla bla, believe me it’ll work :)

Eminonu: Misir Carsisi

Besiktas: Dolmabahce Palace

Ortakoy

Taksim – Beyoglu

Bosphorus: If you have 3-4 days, don’t hesitate to spend one of your days for the Bosphorus, it’s so pretty! You can take a ferry from Eminonu or Besiktas to go to Anadolu Kavagi. This will take you through all Bosphorus and give you chance to see the beautiful city scenery. You can give a break in Anadolu Kavagi, taste some delicious fish and mussels, and turn back to your starting point. It takes a little bit long time, but it’s such a nice journey.

Islands: There’re some big islands in Istanbul, such as Buyuk Ada or Heybeli Ada, to where you can go to with ferries. Again, this will probably take your whole day but especially Buyukada is so nice and worth to visit I think.

Rumelihisari: This is a small castle just in the middle of two bridges. That’s why the scenery is quite nice. It’s a bit long but a nice walking way from Rumelihisari to Besiktas where you can walk through some really nice parts of the city, such as Bebek and Arnavutkoy.

Museums: Istanbul Modern & Sabanci Museum are worth to visit besides the museum within the palaces such as Topkapi or Dolmabahce.

What to eat?

Here comes the best part:) Turkey is a heaven of food! There’re so many things to try:

Best for Turkish Breakfast: Kale Cafe. This is in Rumelihisari, just beside the sea. It’s a bit crowded at the weekends. It’d be great if you can go during the week and sit in the table in that little balcony :) The food is amazing, no more comments really!

Best for Kebap: Develi Restaurant. There’re so many kebap shops all around Istanbul. But if you want to try some real traditional kebaps, you should try Develi. Especially the one with pistachios is so yummy!

Best for traditional Turkish-Ottoman kitchen: Konyali Restaurant. This is in Kalyon Shopping Mall and a bit expensive, but worth to try if you’re not broke. It’s also good for business lunches/dinners FYI.

Best place to go with your other half: Vogue, 5. Kat, Leb-i Derya or 360 degree. All have amazing scenery with delicious food! Not so traditional though.

Best milky deserts: Saray Muhallebicisi. You might be familiar with rice pudding but there’re more to try in Saray. I especially suggest you to try kazandibi :)

Best waffle: Abbas. Ok, I know that waffle is not Turkish but you should still try Abbas which is much more different than the ones you have here! So, so, so yummy!!! Nothing like you tried before! By the way, it’s in Bebek.

And where can I party?

Taksim is the best place to get intoxicated! There’s a part of Taksim called Nevizade and there’re many pubs and bars around this area. There’re also nice cafes to chill out with friends, such as KV, in Tunel, again in Taksim.

If you want to go for a nightclub: Babylon, Mojo, Roxy, and some posh ones such as Angelique Buzz, Laila, Reina, Sortie.
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This is only a short introduction I can give for Istanbul and there’re loads to tell about. If you still need some advice, please don’t hesitate to contact me and I hope you’ll have a wonderful break in the city, which combines Europe to Asia :)

6 comments:

Minik Kus said...

Ne guzel bir yazi olmus oyle. Sikilmadan sonuna kadar heyecanla okudum ve Istanbul'u ne kadar ozledigimi bir kez daha farkettim. Kalemine saglik (komik bi ifade oldu am ane desem bilemedim :P)

Burcuk said...

Tesekkurler Minik kus :)

Tijen said...

Ooooh artık turiz arkadaşlarımıza senin linkini veririz Burcuk! Ellerine sağlık.

-58- said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Burcuk said...

Tijen abla ben de burdakilere senin Taste Anatolia yazilarini veriyorum hehe :))

Celix said...

Çok güzel bir blog ve yazılar çok sürükleyici