Topdeck- turkey explorer Day one.
It is finally time to check out of my second home after 9 night in this hotel. Ran into some people from airier intrepid tour that has returned from there trip around turkey. I meet them before they left for there tour... That shows how long I have been in this hotel.
Today I am going to princes island by ferry. It is beautiful sunny day which has attracted a lot of people to the ferry.
Lucky was at the ferry port a half hour early as it meant I got a seat on the semi covered deck next tooth edge. The ferry was over with people standing and squashed in everywere. Was joined in the alcove of seating by a family on holiday from Iran with there small son. We talked a little but communicated via hand and facial signal for the 90 min ferry ride out to the island.
I disembark at Buyukada, the largest of the islands.
The main ferry port and square were already very busy. There are no cars on the island only horse cart and push bikes. There was a long line for the horse and cart ride and wasn't that keen for one anyway as they are expensive so walked along into a bike for rent shop. I hired myself a nice purple and yellow bike with basket and set off exploring. Was a bit shaky on the bike to start with, has been a while since I have ridden a non- spin class bike. ( this was like a spin class for real with the hills and wind in your face and then pushing hard to overtake... Probably cruised along at around a 6 intensity with only one small hill that was maybe close to a 9) it was heap and heaps of fun to ride along just enjoying the perfect sunny day and the secrecy of the island and views out over the sea of marmama and towards the mainland. After about 30 mins of cycling I reached the Luna park area... Which is close to the center of the island. Stopped to look around the markets but
Again found it to be mostly cheap jewelry. Was slowly getting used to riding in the other side of the road but they seemed to be very casual with which side was going in which direction. Parked my bike at the base of the ramp and walked the 1 km up hill to the st George monastery. It was a hot and felt very long steep walk up the hill. Once at the top there were some great views out over the water and islands around. The monastery was a small group of building of which only the church was open to the public. It was a Greek orthodox with some beautiful icons decorating the walls. The walk down the hill was a lot easier then the one up... But was slightly jealous of the people that had the effort to push there bikes up to the top and were now flying down the hill. Picked up my bike and continued around to the back half of the island. This was a nice ride with mostly flat and then down hill. Pasted by the horse changing / resting station for the horse drawn phaetons. Also pasted the horse stables which had a fantastic view over the water and towards the mainland. There were no houses in this area and I think the horse have some of the best ocean views on the island. Ended up in a big loop and back at the Luna park again but this just rode through towards the main town square again. Passed by some very nice summer homes.... All wooden and very peaceful garden settings. After 2 and half hours on the bike I returned it to the shop and made my way to the shore to have some lunch. I was heading towards a restaurant that was mentioned in the Istanbul eats guide book. I found it by some stroke of luck and order a selection of the vegetarian meza. Was a great setting for lunch right on the waters edge enjoying my food and watching the water go by. Was time to head fir the ferry back to Istanbul. Could have staying a little longer to wonder around the town some more but had to get back so I could collect my luggage from the old hotel and moe to the top deck hotel. On the ferry ride back to I sat witha Germany couple on holidays and an Italian guy also on holidays. Was great talking with them on the ride back. Got off the ferry and then onto the tram. Collected luggage and walked to the new place only having to ask for directions once. Arrived at the hotel and was grateful to see that the meeting had been moved to 730pm instead of 7pm as it was close to 7. Checked in and meet my new housemate/ room share girl. Was lucky to e able to shower as was feeling very hot a tired after my big day out in the sun.
Meet everyone Elsa from the tour downstairs and then a topdeck rep showed up and said our guide wouldn't be able to join us yet so he was going to take us to dinner.
We had dinner and then shared a couple of water pipes. Was fun to try them. We had a mint and then an apple pipe. Sat around smoking them and talking with my new friends on the topdeck tour.
And hotel ( Yerebatan cad. Cami Cikmazi No:36-40, sultanahmet) was close to main attractions in the old city. Room on the 3rd floor was fairly quiet and fantastic views over the aya Sophia. Breakfast good. Wifi barely works it has Complicated password system that means Connected briefly while in lobby then doesn't work in room and have to keep going to reception for new passwords and connections... That was annoying and ended up finding a better connection using a random wifi out on the street than the one in this hotel.