Jul 25, 2013

Istanbul - A trip to the neighbors (Part 4)

The last part of my Istanbul trip was delayed, because of posts about the protests in Bulgaria and my laziness, but it's already here.

It seems that I have exhausted my fellow travelers in the last three days and leave them at the room to rest, while I go for a walk around the hotel.
The streets of Istanbul
A church and a mosque
Orange neighborhood

I head to the old fortified wall, which is nearby and which I seize without a problem and climb one of its towers to look over the conquered lands. From here, one can see how the centuries old wall cohabits for kilometers in parallel with the decades old highway passing through the city. Between two of the towers some unknown imposter has moved in on his own together with his devoted army of empty plastic bottles and have barricaded himself with materials at hand.
Parallel living
The new tenants of the wall

I get off the wall voluntarily without waiting for someone to take me down and head towards the hotel.
For the cold days
Kirmizi (red)

We pack our bags, load them in the car and go to have a breakfast. We decide to leave the car in front of the hotel, to go sightseeing using the public transport and then go back to the car/hotel. We head to the highway and ask the people where we can catch the bus, which has to take us to the Golden horn bay and the Pierre Loti hill or at least somewhere close. Soon the bus comes and it's more expensive than the metro or the other buses, because it is an express one.
In search of the proper bus stop
Roads, people and cars

We get off the express bus and go towards the Pierre Loti hill. Again we aren't that close to the place and again we walk a lot, but my friends approved in advance the route, so no complaints, please.
The princess from the tower is waiting for her prince/caliph

We pass through the cemetery at the foot of the hill, which goes on even of the hill itself. I always associate cemeteries with neglected and overgrown places, because sadly many of the Bulgarian cemeteries are like this. Here, however, is clean and well-arranged, frankly, it's pleasant for a walk. We reach the gondola, which will take us to the top of the Pierre Loti hill and the café of the same name. Its price is again higher than what my phone guide says, and it is only 2 or 3 years old. Inflation, what can you do. We take a look at the Golden horn bay from the panoramic site at the upper gondola station and go for a coffee or tea at the popular and pleasant café.
Turkish tea, the –lover is not included in the photo
The Golden horn bay

Although it is a rather tourist place, the café is not noisy and one can quite successfully immerse into the surrounding amazing view with a cup of the preferred hot drink in hand. Looking at the historical bay, probably everyone wonders what this place was like centuries ago, when Byzantines, Ottomans and many others fought at this now calm place.

We get up and head downwards the hill along the shady paths. A large part of the cat population of the hill sees us off or rather we pass by them, as most of them don't notice us at all.
Merhaba, guy with headphones
One of the many felines
Party hard
Bean bag café
The pole for walking/feeding the chickens

We put some money into the prepaid transport card as the gondola drain the last liras in it and find a bus station. After looking a couple minutes at the public transport map at the station I pick a couple bus lines, which should take us to our hotel. One of the selected buses comes and we not so sure get on. This bus doesn't use the highway and stops rather frequently. However, with every bus stop I get more confident, that this is the correct bus and it doesn't disappoint us. We hop into the car, which is still in front of the hotel and this time without any problems we follow the right way.

As my previous and first visit to Istanbul was about 10 years ago and because of many other reasons, the city didn't impress me. I don't say it disappointed me, but it just didn't make an impression to me. The little I remember was the first döner in my life, the dirt on the streets in the evenings and the cleanness on the next day, as well as the Pierre Loti café. We visit other places as well, but without any particular memories. Unlike this time. Now I collected so many pleasant impressions, which will recommend the city when it comes to Turkey or close to Bulgarian destinations. Of course, we didn't see the whole city for four days, that's why we agreed with my friends that when the Maritsa highway (going to Turkey) in Bulgaria is completed in a couple of years (hopefully) we will visit the city once again, and this time we'll go to the Asian part as well. 
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