Savel istanbul untour trip log part 1

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<ul><li> 1. Istanbul Untour 2013June 4 June 19, 2013</li></ul> <p> 2. My wife and I had been on a guided tour of Turkey and Istanbul in the summer of 2010. We found every aspect of the trip to be great except an untour of Istanbul was missing. When we returned home I contacted Idyll and asked about the possibility of an Istanbul Untour. In a little over two years the dream came truean Istanbul Untour was available. We had only spent four days in Istanbul on our guided tour and felt the city deserved a two weeks untour. We reserved the Nur Apartment quickly and then counted the days for departure. Southern California is our home, and Istanbul is a long distance from San Diego. We knew the flights would be long and that we would arrive with jet lag caused by the ten hours time difference. We knew we would recover from these time and distance hurdles, and then we could settle into our Istanbul neighborhood. 3. Tuesday June 4, 2013 This was our day of departure to begin our Istanbul Untour for two weeks. Our flights were a United Airlines flight San Diego, California nonstop to Washington D.C. Then a Turkish Airlines flight nonstop Washington D.C. to Istanbul, Turkey. This is a total of 15 hours in the air. With all of the pre-boarding, TSA screenings, connection time between flights it was closer to a full 24 hours day to get from our home in San Diego to Istanbul Airport. This means we arrived the next day. 4. Wednesday June 5, 2013 The new day began with arrival at the Istanbul Airport. The required $20 US Visa location at the airport changed from our previous Turkey trip so we needed to get out of the long passport control line and get the Visa. Then we needed to get back in an even longer line for passport control. Once through we went to pick up our checked suitcases. Outsides of the Customs area we connected with Levent our Idyll arrivals person. He arranged for a comfortable van to take us from the airport to our apartment. At the apartment we met our landlord, Izel who would become our most important person for the next two weeks. Izel explained the apartment and other bits of information about the neighborhood. Then he recommended a short walk which gave us access to a good and reliable ATM for Turkish Lira withdrawal. Also, markets for food were pointed out. 5. Neighborhood walk with Landlord Izel pointed out that the Galata Tower in the background was a very good landmark for location of our apartment. 6. Istiklal StreetThis photo is the end of Istiklal Street near Tunel Square by our apartment. Izel is explaining the part of the pedestrian street deemed safe from the current demonstrations and police action. Taksim Square and Gezi Park at the other end of the street were both occupied by peaceful demonstrators at this time. 7. Galata Tower at Night View From Nur Apartment 8. Thursday June 6, 2013 The day started with a quick visit to our local bakery for breakfast pastries. Then after coffee and bakery items in the apartment we decided to walk to our designated Idyll orientation location by the Spice Market. This was a downhill walk to the bottom of our hill then a walk across the Galata Bridge. To the Spice Market. We arrived early so could check out the market and perimeter shops. 9. Spice Market Area from the Galata Bridge 10. An Entrance to the Spice Market 11. Idyll Lunch at Bab-i-Hayat Restaurant some of our plates of delicious Turkish food 12. Idyll Activity The Idyll activity following the orientation and lunch was a boat ride on the Bosphorus. Unfortunately, my wife and I were exhausted from the flights from San Diego to Istanbul so we passed on the experience. We walked back across the Galata Bridge and then tried to find the funicular called Tunel to quickly get back up the hill to our apartment.. 13. Tunel The first thing to realize when asking locals the location of Tunel is to not ask for the funicular. Ask for Tunel and you will get help. Once we found Tunel we needed to learn how to pass our transportation cards over the reader for entrance. Tunel became a very useful and inexpensive way for us to get up our hill to our apartment. 14. Tunel 15. Friday June 7, 2013 We used our transportation passes to catch a tram to visit Topkapi Palace Museum and Harem. 16. The Istanbul Museum Pass was a good option for us since we wanted to visit almost all of the sites covered. Also, the 72 hours validation was not a problem to cover all sites we decided to visit. The savings of admission prices was not significant, but we did not need to stand in line to purchase individual tickets after the initial purchase. This was a great savings in time. I recommend purchase of the Istanbul Museum Pass. After the pass is valid the other sights with admission fees seem to have reasonable prices and lines at the ticket offices. 17. Topkapi Palace Museum View of our apartments neighborhood from Topkapi Palace Musem the Galata Tower continues to be a very good landmarkOne of the beautiful parts of Topkapi Palce Museum 18. Topkapi Palace Museum Photos 19. Hagia Sophia A short walk from the exit of the Topkapi Palace gets you to Hagia Sophia 20. Interior Photos of Hagia SophiaLots of Restoration Work in Progress 21. Saturday June 8, 2013 Took the bus from Eminonu bus station to visit the Chora Church. We were on the correct bus but missed the bus stop for the church. We ended up at the last stop for the bus and had to catch one back. This reminded us how important it is to let the bus driver know where you want to get off. Once we arrived at the correct stop, Edirnekapi it was a short walk to the church museum. 22. Chora Church Museum 23. Some Candid Photos 24. After visiting the Chora Church we caught the bus back to Eminonu and the Spice Market. The market was alive with many shoppers since it was midday.Walked across the Galata Bridge and took Tunel back to the Apartment We shopped at the small market around the corner from our apartment and Bought items to make dinner at home. Information was given to us from our landlord regarding police action against the demonstrators was planned for Monday. We saw a Police helicopter circling the Taksim Square and Gezi Park area. 25. Sunday June 9, 2013 This was the third day for our Istanbul Museum Pass so we wanted to visit two remaining museums to get good use of the pass which is good for 72 hours. We used Tunel and a tram to first get to the Archeological Museum 26. Puddingshop for Lunch 27. The Istanbul Archeological Museum is excellent. Their collection of artifacts is fantastic. If you are really interested in the history of Turkey this could be an all day visit easily. If you have moderate interest it can be covered in half a day. This is what we chose to do. Then we walked to a famous restaurant called Pudding Shop. This type of restaurant occurs in Istanbul where you can see hot containers of different foods available that day. You select the ones you want and order drinks with a waiter. Then after being seated you will be served your drinks and food. All of this is very efficient, and the food was quite good and reasonably priced. After lunch we wanted to visit the Mosaic Museum which is covered by the Istanbul Museum Pass. We had a map, knew where we were, knew where we wanted to go, but construction made it difficult to find the entrance to the Mosaic Museum. Once there we enjoyed a small but very good collection of old mosaics. This museum can be visited in a half day or a couple of hours. Adjacent to the museum is a line of very nice shops selling most items that visitors might want to purchase. These items include porcelain pieces, clothing, art work, jewelry, etc. The Istanbul Museum Pass costs 72 Turkish Liras which is slightly less than the admission for all museums covered by the pass. I recommend purchasing the pass to save the time involved in purchasing individual tickets. 28. Mosaic MuseumShops wares near the Mosaic Museum 29. Back to the Apartment with the Tram. As we approached Karikoy a large group of demonstrators were headed for Tunel. Along the way and on Istiklal Street venders were selling items like Turkish flags, Tshirts, tear gas masks, goggles, etc. to persons who were preparing for a big demonstration that evening. 30. On the following slide, there is a short video that shows the demonstrators that have just started to walk from Tunel Square towards Taksim Square on Istiklal Street </p>