I’m here! I’m finally here! Ladies and gentlemen, today I write to you from my rental apartment in Istanbul!
To be honest, I don’t know if I will be able to blog daily especially when I am on the go, but I promise to write some simple updates whenever I’m relaxing in the apartment/hotel room.
Let’s see, I left my home in KL at 5pm yesterday. I finally checked into the apartment at 10am local time (4pm Malaysia time), so it took me almost 24 hours of combined traveling to arrive! So you can forgive me for not taking pictures of the Istanbul Ataturk Airport. I was basically a walking zombie as I got off the plane. Not even 10°C temperature could wake me up from my lethargy.
I took the Havatas Bus to get from the airport to Taksim, where my apartment is located. I think this is the cheapest and most convenient way to get here. The bus ride costs 11 Liras (approx. RM 15 or USD 4) and they depart every half an hour. You don’t have to purchase tickets in advance, you just get on the bus and the bus driver will sell you the tickets on the spot (cash only). It is a big tour bus, so there’s space for your big luggage. And the ride takes anywhere between 30 minutes to 1.5 hours depending on traffic.
FYI, for comparison, a Uber ride costs about 100 Liras for the same destination, and while metered taxi if done properly should cost about 60 Liras, apparently Istanbul’s cabbies’ notoriety surpasses even that of Malaysian cabbies, so taking a taxi to Taksim could cost as much as 60 Euros!
Anyway, I did shoot some photos from the comfort of the Havatas bus.
My host is a nice person (so far). By right, my apartment booking starts from 12 noon, but I arrived at 9.30 AM and my host who was busy cleaning up the apartment, immediately walked out to this drop off point to guide me to the apartment.
We arrived back at the apartment by 10 AM, and he allowed me to take possession of the apartment as soon he was done cleaning. So I left for a quick walk around Taksim Square and took a few more shots.
I have to mention these were all taken using my handphone. Don’t worry, I will come back with the camera soon…
This Simit Sarayi must be a very popular simit chain here in Istanbul. It seems like they are around in every corner, every street. Simit is… well… in layman term, Turkish donuts. I will try them in due time…
But I was really tired and in need of a nice hot shower and a couple hours in bed. So after a brief walkabout, I wandered back to the apartment. Fortunately, there’s a convenience store just a few shop lots away. In fact my host highly recommends this store. So I went in and grabbed some supplies to last me for a few hours.
Absolutely no idea what these words mean, but that’s perfect! Do what the locals do, drink what the locals drink!
I know, it is Lay’s, but I’d like to think this is a unique Turkish flavor. Yogurt ve mevsim vesillikleri cesnili patates cerezi flavored Firidan. Let’s call it Yogurt flavored.
I paid 9 liras for these and 2 bananas. I don’t even know if this is cheap or expensive. But I reckon this is a necessary spending. Since the store owner seems to know my host (else why would he be recommended?), I suppose by buying something from him, he (hopefully) might be more watchful of my apartment unit when I am out and about in the coming days 🙄 …
And that’s it! It’s 12.50 noon here now, I’ll go take a quick nap, and hopefully I will wake up to properly explore Taksim for a bit. And maybe get a nice dinner or something…