[Roadtrip] WEMW : Istanbul, Turkey - Part 2

January 22, 2015

Blue Mosque;

Istanbul, Turkey
Rainy day.
Picture credit to Maryam
It is an historical mosque in Istanbul, built between 1609 - 1616 and alhamdulillah, of course open for prayers and visitors. Although it is said to be closed to non-Muslim during 5 daily prayers, we can still see non-Muslim sit there in the mosque. 

Istanbul, Turkey

So, I must state that it is a great place for tourists to witness themselves how Muslim perform prayers and insyAllah, may they get hidayah from Allah to know more about Islam :) There is information room in the mosque for those who would like to learn Islam too. MashaAllah!

Called as Sultanahmet Camii, and why it is known as Blue Mosque? 
It is because of the interior design that is made with many blue tiles. :) Art work!

Istanbul, Turkey
The dome.

Istanbul, Turkey
Islamic designs.

Istanbul, Turkey
The chandelier.
I thought the chandelier will be high up at the dome. :D Hihi. It is safe enough to make it lower, I guess. 

Istanbul, Turkey
Aha, the praying area for men is restricted only for men who want to pray. So, they have the advantage to see the front side of mosque :) 

By the way, there is no charge to enter Blue Mosque and it provides us with free plastic bags to put our shoes in and bring it inside. And since it is a mosque, women need to cover their head and don't worry, there are head coverings available too, still for free! 

I think I found it awkward here with the mixed entrance for men and women. I mean, like there is less barrier between both genders to enter the praying area. Be careful to keep the wudu'. T_T Ahaa, places for wudu' for men, is when you enter the mosque. It was cold back then. ;p What we did was, just use bottled waters. Well, nowadays, people know it is enough to use a bottle of water for wudu' right? . :)

Done with praying, it was time to fill the stomach. Alhamdulillah, there was no problem to find halal food! Most Turkish are Muslim and they served halal food. even KFC. Wohoooo. 

Istanbul, Turkey

We went to this restaurant (I can't recall the name), and the main reason was that, it is once TripAdvisor's choice! Haha. Located close to Blue Mosque and we don't have that strength to find any other restaurant. :p We need energy! ^_^

Breads are free in restaurants in Istanbul, I think. And the soup was delicious. I was searching for the spices to make the soup, but no luck :p

Istanbul, Turkey
Most of the customers are foreigners, and unexpectedly, we were in between 2 tables with Korean tourists. And the rest, mostly Asians. Haha. :D
After restoring the energy, we went to Grand Bazaar, but it was getting close. So, it's okay, skip this. as I always hear that Grand Bazaar is expensive. :) So. we changed the plan to settle the souvenirs to the next day in Spice Market and areas around Eminonu. A whole evening to go shopping!

Istanbul, Turkey
One of street close to the restaurant. New Year in Istanbul!

So, what's next? Let's go to Taksim Square! We took metro from Vezneciler station. The token costs about 4 L per ride. Not that reasonable :(

Istanbul, Turkey
Metro crossing river :)

I used to think metro = subway = underground. But when I reach Istanbul, the metro here can be underground and can also be on ground. Similar to Munich, if I'm not mistaken. 

And I should not underestimate the depth of metro station in Istanbul! There was a lift (going down) on top of Vezneciler metro station and escalators just beside it. I wonder why people use lifts, and they even wait for another trip when the lift was full. But, we just use the short escalators and thought we already arrived at the ticket machine. 

Ya Allah, there was at least 3 - 4 floors down there, connected by escalators. Fuhh, it was really mental torturing as we were expecting the entrance to the metro on each floor we went. T__T

Istanbul, Turkey
Black coats; most of them I can say.  And we; colorful clothes :)
And as we get out of the metro station, we can see this; the Taksim Square.

In the center, stands the Monument of the Republic; to remember the formation of Turkish Republic. Hmmm, suddenly I feel awkward knowing this. The monument portray the founder of the Republic, Kamal Ataturk. Hmm, his pictures were everywhere, even in most shops that we went. I can feel the strong influence he brought to Turkey T_T. 

But still...... hmmm.

Istanbul, Turkey

Maybe because it was night, I can't really see how big was the square. From my reading, this place is famous with public events like parades, protests and festivals. Basically, Taksim Square is the gateway to Istiklal street; which surrounded with many branded shops, restaurants, malls, and hotels. 

One thing that I remember from this square was; I saw a policeman threw used tissue to the ground. T_T There were many other polices so I don't have the gut to pick it up as it was quite close to him. I feel sorry for him and myself. 

Istanbul, Turkey
Istiklal street; crowded with people shopping with New Year's discounts.

The streets in Istanbul, literally NEVER sleep; especially this one - Istiklal street. For those who love nightlife and shopping, this street is really suitable for you. 

Istanbul, Turkey
Mussels - Kupang?
There were many street food; like Turkish chicken rice, roasted chestnut, roasted/steamed corn. My friend and I tried this! Mussels with lemon. It looks scary to eat at first and I thought it was still alive. 1 Lira for two mussels. Just say how much you want, the hawker will serve it for you. After finished eating, only then you pay. There were few people who can't stop eating it and he spent nearly 10 Lira for this (20 mussels!) . :)

Istanbul, Turkey
For me the lemon covered the real taste of mussels, but it was really okay. I cannot imaging myself eating it without lemon. :)

Actually, there was another reason why we was so excited to go there. We want KFC for late dinner! We used to have a halal fast-food restaurant in Hradec Kralove, Czech, called CFC - California Fried Chicken but we don't know why it is still closed till now. T_T Other than this, NONE.

Istanbul, Turkey

Memories in KFC were kind of memorable too. Greeted with dirty tables; full with uneaten food left by the customers. There were fries on the floor, some ketchup too! T_T It was heart-breaking to see this. 

Ordering the menu was not that easy too. :0 All menu were written in Turkish language, and of course the menu was not the same like in Malaysia; so we didn't really know what to order. But, the cashier was being good to ask us, what do you want to buy? How many wings, how many drumsticks and only then he suggested the menu that was suitable for us. :)

Istanbul, Turkey
From metro to funicular
Getting back to the apartment was another interesting story. Since we would like to reach closer to the apartment, we changed to tram. But, there was no direct tram from Taksim to Sultanahmet (maybe). So, we need to take funicular to Kabatas, then by tram to Sultanahmet. 

Istanbul, Turkey
Changed from funicular to tramvaj

The funicular was a bit frustrating. Haha. I thought I can see the view of  a part of Istanbul from the funicular like when I went up Penang Hill or Buda Castle of Budapest.

But, none! Ouchhh, the route of the funicular was NOT transparent. And it just feel like moving downwards in a building. T_T And to make it more frustrating, funicular and tram needed 2 tokens! Haha,

I took it as experience; to forget about the frustration. :D
At least, the public transportation here is efficient enough with no delay and clean. :)

After reaching the tram stop, we walked to the apartment. The funny thing was, we didn't know the way home!

Istanbul, Turkey
Still remember this picture in one of the previous posts?

We stopped at one Kebab shop, trying to ask direction. He asked about the business card of the apartment. Ouch, we forgot to bring it. Fortunately, I have the picture above in my phone. It was a bit risky to show the phone to a stranger, But, we surrounded him against the shop, just to make it secured T_T

There was another sentences written between the red and blue-green part - Kucuk Ayasofea. Only then, he said he know it :) And he gave us the right direction, and we saw our car! Alhamdulillah.

Weird thing about parking here. Since the area is not that big to have a proper parking area, Turkish people said you can park anywhere, as long it doesn't affect other cars to use the road. Polices can warn you but they will not give you penalty. :D And we were already in Istanbul for 2 public holidays - New Year's Eve and New Year - making it confirmed to have free parking! Wohooo.

Istanbul, Turkey
This is another place to park the car. just, it is not free. And risky thing is you need to give your car key to the guard. Like you can see in the picture, they park the car blocking one another to save space, so, they need the car key to move the car.

As I mentioned earlier, most streets in Istanbul never sleep. We can still see many people around but the scary thing was, majority of them were male. T___T I wonder where were Turkish's women. So, I think, if you are a girl/woman, take this into account and think to go to Istanbul with at least a friend to accompany you.  :)

We reached the apartment near midnight, had KFC for supper, had a tablet of Ibalgin (like Panadol), and prepare to have a good sleep for tomorrow's adventure!

p/s - I tried to use the same chronology like I had there, so, sorry if you can't understand the transition of one place to another. T_T

Part 3 next, :)

v Khaulah,

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