We return to embark on an end of the year getaway so as not to lose the tradition as we did years ago with Salzburg'10 (the first year), Maldives'11 and Prague'12. This year will be Istanbul'13 and it's not even 11:30 when, after picking up Paula at work, we head to the small airport of A Coruña (9.60 EUR).
We always do it, but we don't want to stop telling it. Here awaits us our usual corner Pre-trip that already whispers (only to us) asking us about the destination we have chosen. Our previous tea and coffee (2.55 EUR) to pass control, sometimes goodbyes (this time not) and the company of many people with excited eyes eager to reach their different destinations.
The 320 of Iberia takes off even a few minutes before its scheduled time. It is time to dream. We already saw one of our trips to area of the planet called the Cradle of Civilization, more specifically in that of Syria - Lebanon - Jordan 2009, as the Near East or Near East has been sheltered by multiple empires and still remains a source of conflict. Egypt, Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Turkey, Cyprus, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Barein, Qatar, Arab Emirates, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman and sometimes Libya and Sudan.
Like we saw in this journey, Turkey was born from various settlements that would develop in the Assyrian culture, later civilizations, until the invasion of the first great Empire, the Persian (VI BC). It would not be until the great Alexander the Great, when this would weaken and gave way to the history we all know, where Greeks (334 BC), later Romans (133 BC) and Byzantiums would alternate their Empires (324-330).
!! Paula stops there, we are already landing !!… Neither 55 minutes later we were already taking land at Madrid Barajas Airport, a second house already for us because it is our inevitable scale towards almost any possible destination.
Of course, on this occasion where the budget presses "something more than the account", those sandwiches Isaac has been preparing in the morning They taste like glory at this time of noon accompanied by some soft drinks (EUR 4.80) and a magazine (EUR 1.80). Tuna omelette, turkey with philadelphia and even ... !! mortadella !!, plas plas plas!
The three waiting hours pass quickly. Paula observes. He loves to observe everything around us. That passenger they are going to look for because they close their boarding gate, those policemen in a clothing store where something has happened, those decorative reindeer that they have placed in the middle of the T4 and the T4S ... That sign indicating our door.
There is no time for more, when we promptly take off again towards which, at another time, was the capital of the world. And is that It is precisely on the date where we stayed before, when Istanbul becomes important. 330 AD. Constantine erects this city of Byzantium to create the capital of Christianity and capital of the new Roman Empire of the East, center of a great civilization. Costantinople was born. A splendor that coincides with the decline of the Roman Empire and that would last a millennium, until 1453.
Unlike in Syria, Lebanon or Jordan, here the Omeyas and the Mongols would never arrive (the Mongol Empire never managed to dominate Constantinople, although it did manage to expand through Anatolia) but after the difficult time of Crusades, this date of 1453 would be the second milestone that would change history. After a long conflict with the Turks, formed of clans and nomadic tribes who had developed their civilization in Central Asia for over a thousand years and who fled to Anatolia due to drought and famine that ravaged their land, a new era began. They had already conquered the rest of the empire, Costantinople fell into the hands of the Ottoman Empire and a profound cultural transformation began, which led an orthodox Christian people to Islam, their churches to mosques, their baths.
The World War I would set the current limits of Turkey and the decade of the 50-60 an important structural change ... and the !! 4 hours and 5 minutes ride !! to us in the biggest city in Turkey (although not the capital, which is Ankara, in the Asian part). How time goes by when you start reading history (!! we love it !!)
It's 23:30 at night, and here is closed night. We hustle for paperwork and almost without tail we take the VISAS (15 EUR each) in the queue where VISA is placed (some clueless person gets in the passport and has to go back). That of cpassport control it also goes fast, and Paula takes the suitcase (which comes out almost immediately) while Isaac changes € 100 to have something to move on until tomorrow (At the Airport with 4% commission leaves at 1EUR = 2.26TYR or Liras).
There are a thousand ways to get off from Atartuk, the Istanbul International Airport, although some do not work at this time of night (for example, the tram runs from 6am to 12pm).Options to reach from Ataturk Airport to the center of Istanbul:
- OPTION 1: Take the line of light meter M1 which will take us to the Aksaray station from where we can take the trolley car to the historic center. The journey time will be around 1 hour and 20 minutes. The price is around 3 Liras.
- OPTION 2: Take a urban busspecifically the96T. The journey time will be 50 minutes because it has numerous intermediate stops. The price is around 2.5 Liras.
- OPTION 3:Take a Havaç company bus That will leave us directly at the Taskim station. Journey time will be between 35-45 minutes. The price is 10 Liras.
- OPTION 4: Use the shotel service if you have it (in most cases you have it). The duration will depend on the traffic but it can be between 30-40 minutes depending on the area of the city in which it is located. The price will be around 20-30 Liras being somewhat smaller if it is shared.
- OPTION 5: Take a cab, being careful that they charge us for the fair. The duration will be between 30-40 minutes. The price should be around 30 Liras.
We we have ended up taking a taxi (45 TYR) since these days of transfers end up being hard (there goes the budget of the day, as Paula says, tomorrow we don't eat, haha).EASY TRANSFER FOR THE MOST ORGANIZED:
Although we always give you all the information to organize transfers on your own, if you have little time or prefer something easy, you have the following option NO LANGUAGE PROBLEM and with VERY GOOD OPINIONS from other travelers. The transfer from Istanbul can be from airport to hotel (the driver will wait for you with a sign) or vice versa, and even personalized within the city. The price is per vehicle (NOT person)
Transfer Airport-Hotel in Istanbul
And here we are, in a small family hotel run by a very friendly old man which has received us in its modest reception, and after passing through the main monuments and mosques completely lit while Paula jumped in the back of the taxi ("miraaa, miraaaa"). His name is Zeynep Sultan Hotel (FULL ARTICLE ABOUT THE HOTEL HERE), and we believe that we have succeeded with the accommodation and the area, although tomorrow we will count ...Where to stay in Istanbul? Although there are those who prefer the European Zone. With a somewhat more expensive price, the hotels are more similar to the European standards we know and there are more means of transport and modernities around. Honestly, we are of the opinion that cities have to live and breathe their environment, and that happens by staying in "their houses" (or in the closest) and in the most authentic and most historic area (and in general, people's preferences for the internet tend to Historic helmet where we are) For tastes ...
Now yes, it is 1:27 in the morning, and while Paula ends her "potricoles", Isaac will publish this little post and we are going to sleep. Tomorrow we expect a very long and intense day, in the heart of a city that feels beautiful ...
Paula and Isaac, from Istanbul (Turkey)
EXPENSES OF THE DAY: 48.85 EUR and 45 LYR (approx. 19.91 EUR)