The glittering city of Istanbul has two major international airports and flights from important cities around the world arrive into the same. Taxis, trams, buses and the metro will then take you to the town centre.
Day 3: Post breakfast we checked out of Sophia Studio Apartment and left luggage in the luggage room. We then visited Grand Bazaar and walked to the Spice Market and explored the market between the two. Post that we had lunch and then chilled at Eminonu. In the evenings, we headed back to the apartment to collect our luggage. We took the overnight bus by Metro Turizm to Selcuk which departed at 09:30 pm from Istanbul.
Day 1: Took an early morning Qatar Airways flight at 04:10 am from Mumbai which arrived in Istanbul at 12:30 pm and checked into Sophia Studio Apartments in Sultanahmet. We visited Grand Bazaar to exchange currency (you get the best exchange rates there) and then headed to Galata Tower for the Sunset.
Day 2: After breakfast, we headed out to visit Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Basilica Cistern. Post lunch we relaxed in the gardens outside Topkapi Palace and then headed to Istiklal Street to spend the evening.
There was a knot in my stomach as I walked past clothing shops displaying life-jackets for sale. Inflatable rafts, most designed to carry two people, three at most. Diesel motors lined-up on the street outside shops that sell tourist souvenirs inside. While the rest of the world debates the migrant/refugee lexicon, in Izmir the inflow of Syrians has decisively created a multi-million dollar "raft economy" that supplies provisions for their sometimes fatal exit across the border into the European Union.Read More
There was a knot in my stomach as I walked past clothing shops displaying life-jackets for sale. Inflatable rafts, most designed to carry two people, three at most. Diesel motors lined-up on the street outside shops that sell tourist souvenirs inside. While the rest of the world debates the migrant/refugee lexicon, in Izmir the inflow of Syrians has decisively created a multi-million dollar "raft economy" that supplies provisions for their sometimes fatal exit across the border into the European Union.
Day 4 – Izmir
Somya and I had booked a low cost flight from Istanbul to Izmir because the distance between the two places is around 564 kilometres and a bus would cost us approximately 1600 INR. The flight cost us 2100 INR and it was more convenient for us to pay 500 Rupees more and save some time. Our flight arrived in Izmir at 2 pm and from there till our BNB we had been suggested to take a local bus straight from the airport. After collecting our baggage and completing all formalities, we reached the bus stop (called otobus duragi in Turkish) at 3 pm and were finally able to catch a 4 ‘o’ clock bus. Our house was at walking distance from the bus stop. In the bus, I made friends with a German man who was going to Iraq. He could hardly speak English but was trying his best to talk to me. Somya and I talked to an American girl who was on a solo trip to Turkey. After Turkey, she was going to Greece for rafting. On such trips do we realize how important it is for us to meet people from across the globe to know and be inspired by their stories. I could have never really thought of taking a solo trip but listening to such adventurous stories I am planning my next trip alone. So, we got down at our bus stop and walked towards our house. Our host Ozlem, who was living in another house, was already waiting for us there. Ozlem was a very friendly man and when we entered the house, we were pleasantly surprised to see how pretty it was. We were overjoyed when we discovered that we were the only people who would be occupying that 2 BHK for the next two days. We had chosen the room with bunk beds and it was just amazing. The kitchen, the drawing room and the balcony were remarkable. And guess what, we were the first guests in that BNB! So we were treated in the best way possible. There were chocolates waiting for us on our beds. Fresh fruits, juices and other eatables were kept for us in the fridge. We were so excited that we started thanking Ozlem hysterically. Ozlem also had maps ready for us and gave us an idea of what spots to visit in the city. We were not very keen on exploring Izmir as it had nothing much to offer but still we went out to spend the evening. We had planned to visit Ephesus the next day. By now we were extremely hungry so first we found a place to eat. I can confidently say that food in Turkey is very cheap. We luckily found a place where I had a whole pizza meal including a personal meat pizza, two chicken pieces, a large plate of fries, and unlimited soft drink for 350 INR. Yes, you read it right! 350 INR (including taxes, if they have any). Full and happy, we walked towards the main road, which was on side of the sea. We walked a few kilometers on the road adjoining the sea. We enjoyed the sun beautifully setting at the horizon and then decided to go to the nearby market. When we asked a man the way to that market pointing towards the map, he literally took us there and offered us street food and cigarettes on the way. We were initially skeptical about his intentions, but when we reached the destination, he simply shook our hands and left. Such are the people of Turkey! I bought a denim jacket, which is the trendiest cloth there and boarded a bus back to our bus stand. After the bus driver gestured to us that there were many stops by the name of the stop we were taking, we realized we were lost. But then again the hospitality of the people didn’t betray us and we were back home safely, eating and dancing all on our own.
Next we took the ferry from Gallipoli to Izmir. We got down and drove to the city of Izmir. We reached at 3 in the morning and hence got a really horrible hotel named Ankara for 80 lira. Please don't go in this hotel as it has bed bugs, the toilets stink.
Instead reach earlier and find a decent hotel to stay in. Much better places can be found online and booked in advance to avoid inconvenience
Next day, we went to the beach side which is Aegean Sea. You can walk or rent bicycles and go around the beach. The place also has good clubs and pubs to offer. And apparently a good night life and good food! In the market there is a shop to buy local perfumes. Even though they are local and cheap, they are totally worth buying as they are good and long lasting, atleast to my taste of perfumes.