Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Finally Arrived in Istanbul!

After about 24 hours of travel from our house in Lowell to our hostel in Istanbul, we were exhausted, mainly from the lack of sleep on the flight and the alcohol in my system that my liver was still trying to process.

Immigration at the Istanbul was a breeze and customs was a joke, we pretty much walked right by without declaring anything, not that we had anything to declare.

To save money, we took the metro, Istanbul’s subway system. Luckily we had Turkish Liras and we were able to purchase subway tokens.  The trains were very clean; my only complaint would be the body odors from the guys in conjunction with massive perfume from the ladies.
After walking in the rain to find our hostel, we settled into our 4 person dorm room that we were sharing with 2 other German girls.  The hostel was clean and the people were very friendly.

After settling in, the Mo and I ventured out to grab a snack at Eminonu pier. We like to research our destinations before we go and this place kept coming up for its 5 Turkish Lira (roughly $2.50 USD) fish sandwiches in half a baguette with lettuce, onions, salt and optional lemon juice.  The sandwiches are cooked in the highly adorned vessels and handed to customers, both local and tourists at the pier.  The Mo and I split a sandwich as an appetizer and it were delicious.

We took the metro back towards our hostel and grabbed lunch at a restaurant serving the average Turkish fast food consisting of Doner kebabs, grilled meats etc. I got the grilled meatballs and the Mo got a Doner meat Kebab with cheese.  Both meals were delicious! The lunch including a diet coke, water, and apple tea, cost about $17.00.  I’m definitely not used to paying “tourist” prices since I was spoiled by the prices in Thailand and Cambodia where $1.00 got my a huge plate of Phad Thai noodles.

After lunch, we came back to the hostel to take a nap.  We were awoken by our friends Syn and Helen who had just returned from their day tour of the city.  We ventured out and picked up some beer and wine and spent a couple of hours catching up and exchanging travel experiences. 
We picked up a meat doner snack to share from a street vendor to enjoy on our roof top terrace fo 5 liras (about $2.50 USD)

After a walking around the Blue Mosque for some time, we decided on a late dinner at Doy Doy restaurant which was a popular pick on a variety of travel guides for budget dining in Istanbul.  We got a variety of grilled foods and a Pide, “Turkish Pizza” to share.  All the dishes were fantastic and the prices were indeed reasonable.

We went to the nearby bar attached to our hostel and had a round of drinks.  Syn and the Mo had a beer and kept it safe whereas Helen and I wanted to live on the edge and decided to try to a “Raki”, the national alcohol drink in Turkey.  Its pretty much a strong anisette flavored beverage served with a glass of water to help offset the potent taste.

We picked up more beer and wine and ended our night back on the roof top deck overseeing the Blue Mosque and Instanbul. What a lovely way to end our first night.  Gotta wake up early tomorrow for breakfast and our flight to Dalaman to go to Fethiye.