Thursday, January 20, 2011

Moscow 2011: Istanbul Layover

Moscow 2011: Istanbul Layover


The flight to Istanbul was supposed to reach at around 11am giving us a good 8 hours before your flight to Moscow.  Due to the delay, we only landed at noon giving us only about 4 hours to explore Istanbul.  We were pleasantly surprised that there was a dedicated business class line to get through immigration. To save on cost (and probably the time due to traffic), we went down to downtown Istanbul using the public transport.  It took about a 30 minute metro and tram ride to reach the Sultanahmet area of Istanbul with the metro station conveniently located in the basement of the airport.

We were mainly interested in seeing Hagia Sophia which was once both a cathedral and mosque which has now been turned into a Museum.  We got slightly lost and actually ended up in the Blue Mosque first.  It was a good de-tour as the mosque itself was pretty impressive.  There were prayers on-going when we got there but they still allowed tourist into the back part of the mosque to look around and to take pictures.

Some pictures of Blue Mosque:

After the mosque, we walked over across the park to where Hagia Sophia.  It was really interesting seeing both Christian & Islamic influences in the building.  Pictures of Hagia Sophia:

When we were done with Hagia Sophia it was about 3pm and time to head back to the airport.  When walking to the tram stop, we stumbled onto a couple of kebab stalls and being self-proclaim foodies, we had to get some to try even if we were not to hungry.  We ordered a chicken and beef kebab and they were pretty good but the portions of the meat could have been more.  I was surprised that they added french fries into the kebab itself.  We also ordered a pomegranate juice.  Those were the largest pomegranates we've seen before.

Some pictures of the metro & tram:

We really liked our short stay in Istanbul.  It was easy to get around, there was plenty of culture, history and things to see and the food is good.  Istanbul is definitely on our list of places to come back one day for a longer visit. 

1 comment:

  1. Awesome post. So nicely you have explained it. I had never visited this place but I think I should visit it. Nice click... Thanks for sharing this post with us.