Travelogue : Istanbul Day 5

Our last day was specifically reserved for our island visit.

There is a group of Islands quite famous in Turkey known as the Prince's Islands or locally known as Adalar. During the Byzantine period, these islands were the place of exile for royalty, hence its name. Now these island sport no auto transport and people are transported by horse drawn carriages. If you're a nature person then I fully support taking at least a few hours out of your stay to visit these places. The view is amazing!

Take the funicular at taksim -----> kabatash 

But today we actually took a taxi straight to Kabatash because we were running late. It cost about 8TL. It was actually lucky that we knew the fare early because later we were able to use this info.

At kabatash there are a few ferry lines which you can take to get yourself to the island. The most famous is the Sehir Atlari (large ferry) and then IDO (smaller and faster ferry.) Both of which you can use your istanbulkart to pay. You can check out the fares and schedules for Sehir atlari ferries here and the fares and schedules for IDO ferries here. You can pick and choose which of the two you want to go and come back with. We chose Sehir to go and IDO to come back, strictly because of time restraints. It is not advisable to take the last ferry to either side seeing that the ferries may become overloaded.

The ferries were pretty comfortable considering the ride took around 45 minutes to an hour. My sis and I choose just one island to visit, Heybeliada. Here we found a horse ride for the whole island at 40 TL. The trip was pleasant and there are some very nice houses here. You can also choose to walk if that is more your style.

I really enjoyed the ferry ride. It was really peaceful and perfect if you just want to get away with just your thoughts for a few hours. They also serve some light snacks like them chocolate bagels and tea. I actually fell asleep for a bit because it was so cozy.

Afterward my sister and I tried to look for a cab to get back home. And here was where we met our first of 2 con taxi driver. He was parked just to the side of where the ferry stations were. We told him our destination and he agreed to drive us. But before this there was a small commotion with him telling his friend that he got a customer. Clearly we were partly at fault for not asking the rate before getting in, but because our previous taxi drivers were all honest people I guess it slipped our minds. Not only did he drive like a maniac. He kept trying to show my sister pictures of an automobile museum not far away. Probably thinking we might want to change our course. When he did finally drop us off my sister asked the fare and he confidently said "excuse me meter" and pointed and the meter which showed 32TL. And clearly the meter had not moved from the beginning until he had stopped.So my sister got angry saying that she already knew the fare was if anything less than 15TL. And after a bit of argument we stepped out and handed him some USD which roughly translated to i think 10 TL or around that. And he kept saying that is was difficult to change small dollars. I was close to just walking away but then there was an elderly lady who was kind enough to ask us what the taxi was charging and then she scolded him and kept telling us to leave and that he was a bad driver and we shouldn't even pay. My sister had 20TL with her but she demanded to get 10TL back. He kept saying he had no change. I told my sister to keep the door wide open and to get his 10 before he took her 20. In the end, because the elderly lady was making a commotion and people were looking his way and getting a rough idea of the situation he relented and gave us 10 back. Personally I though he shouldn't have even gotten even 10TL but whatever.

Later that night, with my mom in tow we made our way to the blue mosque, because word had it that they had Iftar before the terawih prayers. It turned out we were misinformed and had to buy outside food, which was pretty depressing since we were late and all the good food was finishing. Rezki kurang I guess malam tu. But we did get to pray terawih 8 rakaat. The feeling was not like that in Malaysia. I'm not really sure why, but I missed our normal mosque at home right then.

By the time we were heading home it was past eleven and with the con  taxi fresh in our minds I was pretty weary of who to hail. But again we hailed a parked taxi who assured us that he was under the blue mosque's taxi company or something or rather. I observed the meter and it still didn't show any rates while we moved and he kept reassuring us that it was normal. So when we reached he charged 25TL. Which was exorbitant. There are no night rates in Istanbul. But being that it was late at night, we were all girls and the fact that we had no energy and were kind of scared to make a scene we handed over what he asked for.

Word of advice, never hail a parked taxi. They are parked probably because they don't need to make the proper rounds to earn enough money like everyone else. And i would advice to try and find ones with older drivers. The previous taxis we boarded with fair prices were all driven by quite elderly men. And the meter moves WHILE they drive. Not finally when they stop.

So that was pretty much it. We packed out bags that night and was ready for checkout by 10 the next day. All in all it was a pretty satisfying trip. I got to see all the place I wanted, buy all the souvenirs I needed, tasted a few of the local cuisines despite being in the month of Ramadhan, and got to take some nice pictures here and there. Istanbul is definitely worth while visit.

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