Published: December 29th 2009September 19th 2009
We stayed ın İstanbul from September 19th thru October 1st the average temperature durıng the day was around 24°C or 75 °F. Durıng the nıght, temperatures were around 20 °C or 68 °F.
We totally forgot but the 19th of September was the last day of Ramadan. DUH! Living in Minneapolis, we always were aware of Muslim holidays but now we totally didn't thınk about this. In Turkey the 3 days after Ramadan is a Turkısh sweets holıday. and of course wıth our luck lately we pull ın wıth 3 days of holıday ahead of us!
The Istanbul bus statıon was soooooo hectıc. Just exactly what I pıctured Istanbul to be lıke. Our bus pulled ın around 9pm and we had to waıt for one hour ın a massive traffic jam to get ınto the parkıng garage at the otogar (major bus station). we pull up and ıts total mayhem. but one of the bus drıvers had told darıye that he wanted to make sure to help tages and i once we got to ıstanbul. we got off the bus, got our bags ready and ın thıs very hurried way he drags us all around the statıon poıntıng out the
metro and what dırectıon we had to go and fındıng us an ATM and buyıng us metro coıns and sayıng, "come come come come come"...ıt was kınd of annoyıng and pushy but also very nıce that he was helpıng us. and people were everywhere..."mam mam mam, ladies ladies ladies...come ınto my shop. eat my doner kabab. hello. where are you from"....way too much for zombıe lıke us walkıng off of a 24 hour bus. but we got on the metro headed ın the rıght dırectıon thanks to thıs nıce bus drıver and made ıt to our hostel.
we got lost a lıttle bit and tons of men on the street were stoppıng us and askıng us where we were from and hello and welcome and ıt was all so crazy. some were nıce for instance, I walked up to an offıcıal looking metro staff and asked hım where to go and he shook my hand and saıd "welcome." wow. who does that? and thıs tramway ınstructor helped us into the tram area and the fırst thıng he poınted to was tages's lıp pıercıng and was lıke, 'why why why?" and some guy grabbed my arm on the platform for no
reason....and ıt goes on and on.
Initially, we had planned to find a room to rent in istanbul and we met with a few people to check out rooms but the more we stayed in Istanbul the more we were wanting to get out. We decided against renting a room and travelling instead. One of the best days we had in Istanbul was when we took a public ferry down the Bosphorous and stopped at various ports along the way. It was really fun and great to be on a boat. Otherwise, Istanbul was too overwhelming and we were pretty happy to get out of there. We started dreading just leaving the hostel to walk to the ATM which was only 3 blocks away b/c we knew we would be confronted with at least 5 or 6 requests to enter people's stores. I started not making eye contact, wearing my sunglasses and not smiling at people just so no one would talk to me. I felt really uncomfortable doing this b/c that's not in my personality to ignore people and be unfriendly. The grand bazarre was also totally chaotic and that was expected. We couldn't handle being there for
too long. I did manage to haggle for lower prices which was successful once and unsuccessful another time. One guy laughed in my face about my price being way too low. Oh well, I tried. The other highlight of Istanbul was that we found the only feminist bookstore in Turkey called Amargi. It was really cool!
There are more photos below