Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Day Trip from Istanbul: Princes' Island

Don't be alarmed, I'm still here. I have just been so busy and so tired at the end of the day that I haven't had a chance to write. As I sit here I am struggling a bit to both remember all the events of the past two days and keep my eyes open. I cannot say enough about how much I love this city! It's a wonderful combination of old and new, history and progression. I have met such wonderful people from all over the world too! Traveling alone, while daunting and lonely at times is really nice, though it isn't something I would want to do all the time.

View from the boat
Typical Transportation System
I'm going to keep this post relatively short, although I have said that before and end up writing a novel. Yesterday, Monday, July 11th I was picked up at my hotel bright and early by a bus. Turns out I ended up on the mainly Arabic speaking tour. As were were driving to the port, the guide explained a little bit about the history of the city of Istanbul formerly known as Constantinople. The walls were built by the Romans a long time ago and are considered to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today I was going to Princes' Island which is actually more than one island but we were going to the biggest one. The boat ride was about an hour and a half long, but the scenery was beautiful and the weather was perfect, so it was a nice ride. Once I go to the island all of us had to get into a really long line for the horse and carriage ride. I was paired with a very nice Russian speaking family from Azerbaijan for my ride. Their daughter spoke a little bit of English and she was very happy to be able to practice with me. The ride took us all around the island to see all of the old houses and lovely views. There are no cars allowed on this island at all, so if you want to get anywhere you have to walk, ride a bike, or take a horse and cart. It was kind of like taking a trip back in time.
Look Carefully!

Lunch Time! 3 Courses Hooray!
After the ride it was time for lunch. This time I was paired with a family from Saudia Arabia. Before they got to the table, the tour guide came up to me and asked me why I was on this tour. I laughed and said, "why not." It was full of families, but that's ok they tend to take on extra people pretty easily. He also said that they were the quietest family. They were really interesting to talk to, and I enjoyed lunch by the Marmara Sea very much.

After some free time, it was time to meet back up with the group to head back to the mainland. I kept dozing in and out on the boat, but there were a couple things that caught my attention on the ride. The first was a man who did an impromptu infomercial about a mini plastic juicer. What a deal, 6 for 5 Turkish Lira! People were going crazy over these things. A little while later, I saw some dolphins swimming next to the boat.

I was so tired by the end of the trip! It took everything I had to get myself to a restaurant for dinner. I went to the first place I saw called Ozler Restaurant. This place was decorated with lots of big pillows and carpets on the walls but it was all open. I sat next to a fountain in the middle of the place which had some goldfish and turtles swimming around. The food was decent, but not the best I had had so far. I wanted to get the bill so badly, but I couldn't leave without having a scalding hot drink. This time it was apple tea which was very good. It is served in a small glass which sits in a small dish. It's so hot, but the Turkish people drink it right away with a combination of blowing on it and sipping at the same time. I always just end up burning my mouth.

Just for Fun