This is for the Weekly Photo Challenge at WordPress.
Yaay ! My Thursday Challenge 2 is out ! He he
THEME : THE BEST OF 2012 (A photo/event you liked best in 2012,…)
We happened to lunch at the Orient Express in Istanbul during one of the arranged tours. These photos were taken using an iPhone during the meal. I cannot say that I thoroughly enjoyed the meal, because I am not much of a food experimenter. But the hubby and son loved the meal. I enjoyed the dessert the best. Even the cake was Orange flavoured. It was the only Turkish meal we had on this trip. The ambience of the place and the history attached to it, makes it a memorable event.
The food was served in these four courses. Accompanied by Bread and Drinks. It was a totally different experience for me because I generally stick to fast food joints while on holiday. Or maybe survive on biscuits and juice. Like I said, I am not much of a Foodie that way.
For more pictures on the same theme, visit Thursday Challenge.
The only thing that was time consuming was the visa application. That took 3 working days. Everything else about the trip was finalized in less than 2 hours.
The days were finalized first since we needed to make the most of the UAE National Day holidays which , this time , were coupled with a weekend. Hence the planning began two weeks before the date of travel.
Tickets were booked depending on the dates and timings and of course the cost. Hotel rooms were booked next. Once that was done, “must visit” places were noted , a day tour and the red bus tour were booked. All vouchers printed and done in two hours. We were confident about getting the visas on time. And thankfully, we did!
Istanbul is one of the most common destinations from here. Many tour operators offer packages too. We did try to take a package, but the flights didn’t match ours schedule. So we did all the bookings on our own. Turned out to be a bit more expensive but definitely worth it. Istanbul can easily be covered without much assistance. The issue is only with the long queue for the tickets at the entrances of certain museums and palaces. Tours operators get them ready for you, so it saves time. And yes of course a bus full of people is always better.
I noticed the precision with which these tour operators run their business in Istanbul. Buses collect guest from various hotels in the morning. They then meet at one point and separate us according to our respective tour bookings. Then they paste little circles with our tour numbers on us to identify us. Yes, it is easy to get lost among the tourists in Istanbul. The place survives on Tourism.
The only authentic Turkish food we had was at the Orient Express Restaurant at the train station. For other times there was always Burger King or some such.
The trip was a relaxing and enjoyable one. We took our time to stroll and enjoy both the Taksim Square of the Modern part and the Sultanahmet Square of the Historical part of the European side of Istanbul. We couldn’t cross the Bosphorus Strait to the Asian side of Istanbul due to time constraints. We missed the cruise to “Princess Islands” too. These need a day each. Due to rains, I lost quite a few opportunities to click photographs and many of them were clicked from my iPhone from under an umbrella. The trip was truly a memorable one. I hope you like the pics.
Even on vacation trips I am on the look out for beautiful skies, just so that I can post it as Skywatch Friday. And this one is my Skywatch Friday 3.
The weather in Istanbul was perfect for tourism. It did rain on one of the days that we were there and it did make me hide my camera for the day, but it definitely did not dampen the spirit. We were on a bus tour that day and the group that we ended up was a good one. Different Nationalities and different backgrounds, yet keeping a look out for each other, so that no one misses a sight or gets lost in the ocean of sightseers. That is the best part of such tours. You end up making friends even if it is just for the day.
Although the view from the Galata Tower was mesmerising, it is the sky that as usual fascinated me. So here are a few pictures from our first evening in Istanbul, just before the sunset and the lovely evening sky colours took over and made the atmosphere as romantic as ever. We found many couples cuddling in front of cameras , we clicked a few too and retreated into the cafe to have coffee and hot chocolate with our kids.
The view shows the Galata Bridge that leads to the Historical part of European Part of Istanbul, Bosphorous and the Golden Horn.
For more pictures of the sky, click here.