30 May A Wonderful Trip to Istanbul, Turkey

The city where East meets West.

Abdul S. shares his unforgettable journey to Istanbul.
I would like to share with you my recent visit to Istanbul which was the peak of my summer 2013.

Day 1: It was the late morning of Tuesday 28th July, all set to go to the airport. A 4-day and 5-night trip will give us a sound and refreshing break after my first summer term at my school. After enjoying four and a half hours on the plane, we finally reached Istanbul airport. As we stepped out, the temperature was 20 degree Celsius, it was cold! We checked-in to a five star hotel named Marmara Taksim which was at the heart of the city, near Taksim Square. We refreshed ourselves, went to have dinner and we roamed around the streets for a while. We noticed that many locals owned small shops on the street and sold different foods, such as boiled corns and Turkish ice creams.

Day 2: “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy.” We followed the saying by getting up early in the morning and we all had hot English breakfast. We asked a hotel employee at the “Help Service” desk and he advised us to go for a half-day ferry ride. The 4-hour ride started at 12 noon from Blue Mosque point to Bosphorus point and return. As we were sitting in the ship we took many pictures of the the famous Turkish Museum also known as Dogaskay Museum, the Bosphorus bridge and the Galataskaray School of Arts etc. Lunch was also served, we had the famous Turkish chicken with the salad, it was hot and delicious. While taking a U-turn and coming back towards the blue mosque point, the tourist guide told us that the right side was the Asian part of Istanbul and the left was the European part of Istanbul, hence it is also called the city where East meets West. We finally came back to where we started, and we decided to go shopping for famous Turkish bags and carpets from the market; as Istanbul is known for its carpets. There, we also experienced the railway system: unlike Dubai, Istanbul has three different types of railways: there is the metro, the tram and the normal train running on railway tracks. We decided to go on the normal train and enjoy the fresh air. We reached Taksim Square and we took pictures of the late sunset. We had a light dinner in an Indian restaurant, and we went back to the hotel early as we decided to go Princes’ Island very early in the morning.

Day 3: We were all excited to go to Princes’ Island as this was the first time for us going to a place surrounded by water. The ride lasted one hour, and we took pictures of the green water which looked very beautiful. The Island was so stunning with colorful flowers and greenery everywhere. The total area of the Island was less than 7km. We went on a horse and cart ride for 45 minutes. There were a few nice shops on the Island and we bought some toys for my brother and massaging caps for relaxation. Finally, we took some pictures of the beautiful sunset and reached Istanbul in the evening.

Day 4: The next morning, my father, my younger brother and I decided to go experience the Turkish bath, situated at the top floor of the hotel. It was very relaxing and soothing both for our body and mind. We had boiled eggs with chives for breakfast, a famous dish in Istanbul. After the healthy breakfast, we took a tour of the entire city by public bus and metro. First, we went to the Blue Mosque, also known as the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, a famous tourist destination in Istanbul. The mosque itself was quite big, and we had a good time there by admiring the tall minaret and the colorful lights. My mom wanted to buy some gifts for our relatives back in Dubai, so we decided to go to the famous mall called Forum Istanbul. The mall was big and looked very international. There was also a food court in the mall where we had pizzas made the Turkish way; it wasn’t spicy as I know that Europeans do not eat spicy foods.

Then, we took the city bus which took us to the historical places like Topkapi Palace, Aya Sofia and Turkish and Islamic Museum. The Islamic Museum gave an idea of the Muslim leaders during the 17th and 18th century. Finally we were so tired, we went back to the hotel as we had to wake up early to catch a flight leaving the next morning.

My wish of going to Istanbul was fulfilled by my dad and I thank God for bringing us safe back home.



Top 5 Fact File for Turkey

Languages Spoken: Turkish, Kurdish, Arabic, Armenian, Greek

Currency: Turkish Lira

Capital: Istanbul

Climate: The coastal areas of Turkey bordering the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean Sea have a hot-summer Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers and mild to cool, wet winters. The coastal areas of Turkey bordering the Black Sea have a temperate Oceanic climate with warm, wet summers and cool to cold, wet winters.

Local Dishes:

SimitSimit is commonly eaten at breakfast and is also one of Turks’ most beloved snacks, often accompanied by a strong glass of traditional Turkish tea.

MezesMezes are tapas-style small plates, which come in both warm and cold varieties. Among the most popular mezes are those made with the ubiquitous eggplant, which is served fried, smoked, stuffed.

Hamsi – called hamsi in Turkish, anchovies caught along the country’s Black Sea coast are among the well-loved types of seafood served on Istanbul tables. Whether grilled or dusted with corn flour and fried, hamsi also make their way into Black Sea-style cornbread, pilaf, and other side dishes.

Fun Fact:

A. Turkey is responsible for 80% of the world’s hazelnut exports.

B. Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar has 64 streets, 45,000 shops and 25,000 workers.

C. The first ever Christian church to be built by a man is in Antioch, Turkey.

D. Turkey’s Istanbul tunnel is the world’s second oldest underground railway which began operation in 1875.

E. There is no desert and native camels in Turkey.

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