EuroAdventure15: Three continents, one day

(posted by Emily)

27 June 2015
Istanbul, Turkey
19,103 steps

We left San Francisco at around 6pm on Friday. It was first time on Turkish Airlines, and we were really happy with the service. Rick could have used a bit more legroom, and it would have been nice to be in one of the rows of seats near a window, but we survived. 

The food was pretty great, too! Rice and veggies for dinner in a tomato sauce, then a similar combo with potatoes instead of rice for breakfast. 

I slept for a while, though I know Rick didn't get much sleep. Thank goodness for in-flight entertainment systems!

When we arrived in Turkey around 5:30pm Saturday, we headed straight to passport control. Because we had purchased our visas ahead of time online, the checkpoint was pretty painless. Didn't even have to fill in an immigration form! We did feel sorry for the few people we saw make it all the way to the front of the line and then be turned away because they didn't have their visa in order yet....

Rick booked us an airport transfer from Ataturk directly to our hotel. We had a nice-sized van, which made the rush hour traffic that much more tolerable.

Our hotel is called the Black Tulip Hotel, and is about a 5 minute walk from the Bosphorus Strait. It's in a busier area, with restuarants and shops, in the Old City. The room is small (the door brushes against the bed when you open it), but updated and clean. Can't complain!

Istanbul has two sides to the city--the Old City, which is in Europe, and the New City, which is in Asia. It's pretty neat to see the city's natural expansion as technology has changed--with bridges and boats, it was much easier for the New City to come about.

Looking over toward the New City, Asian side 

Sunset as we crossed the bridge from one side to the other. 
We're pretty worn out after the plane ride and lack of sleep, but decided to walk over to the Galata Tower area for dinner at a vegan restaurant called Ecoisthan. We enjoyed a falafel plate and a kebab plate, fresh bread, and a latte with peanut milk. The view was great, down the little street where the restuarant is.

We wandered a bit more after dinner, past the tower and up a more populated, touristy street. It was easy to see this was the modern shopping zone, with stores like Mango and Zara. 

There was even a Shake Shack--it was literally empty. No people inside--can you imagine?!

On our way back, we crossed the bridge again. We passed a shoe shine guy who dropped one of his brushes before passing us. Rick returned it to him, and he insisted on "shining" Rick's sandals. Just as he began to launch into his sob story about why he needed money, some sort of car pulled up and he was off running before we knew what had happened. Weird!

Crossing back over to Europe, all of the mosques were lit up, along with the historical buildings in the old city. A beautiful sight to see!

Now it's off to bed, because we want to be up early to see the sights of the city!


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