Day 13: Back in Istanbul
On the 13th day I flew from Tbilisi to Istanbul, where I will stay for one night before traveling to UAE.
Istanbul Sweet Shop, 9:10pm
I had tea and some baklava here. I then went back to the hostel to rest.
Barbeque House, 8:30pm
I decided to get dinner and I ended up in this restaurant. I got chicken skewers, some bread and soup.
Cheers Hostel, 7:00pm
Just chilling out in my room and chatting with my roommates.
Grand Bazaar, 5:00pm
After another walk I reached the Grand Bazaar - it is even bigger than the Spice Bazaar! (Duh, that why it's called Grand, dummy) Goods of all shapes and colors are on sale. I remember this is where James Bond has a chase scene in Skyfall.
I went from shop to shop, sampling the free Turkish delight until I am full. I bought a few gifts for back home, and I went outside to the tram. I got my ticket and took one that will take me near the hostel.
Topkapi Palace, 2:45pm
I reach the palace after a short walk. Topkapi used to be the main residence of the sultans of the Ottoman empire. It is now a museum. There was a long time for the tickets so I just bought one from a hawker for 5 lira more.
The palace is very oppulent. It has a lot of courtyards and special buildings for every function and ceremonies, and for every whim of the sultans. There even a room where the princes are circumcized!
The artifacts on display are very impressive, particularly in this one room with all the religious items. Photography is forbidden in there but I saw among other things: the staff of Moses, the sword of King David, the footprint of Muhhamad, the headgear of Joseph, and pot of Abraham! I was really tempted to take pics but the guard looks menacing, so I did not.
I explored the rest of the palace grounds. The view of the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn is great, especially from where the sultan is having his breakfast.
I woke a bit refreshed. I dressed up and went outside. I only plan to visit Topkapi Palace and the Grand Bazaar today.
Cheers Hostel, 10:30am
Finally in the hostel, same hostel as last time. Tariq is in the counter and checked me in. I was even able to eat the free breakfast! I then settled in, and took a nap. So sleepy now.
Taksim Square, 10:10am
We arrived at Taksim Square past 10am. There was already some traffic buildup along the way. I got a cab to the hostel, which is on the other side of the Bosphorus.
Havas Bus, 8:45 am
I am now in the bus going to Istanbul. It will stop in Taksim Square, where I plan to take a taxi to the hostel.
Sabiha Gokcen Airport, 7:00am
Touchdown Istanbul. I sort of regretted that I took Pegasus Air going back. Sabiha is in the Asian side of Istanbul and kind of far to where I am staying (my flight tomorrow is in Ataturk, in the European side).
I cleared immigration and proceeded to baggage claim. Lo and behold - my luggage is nowhere to be found! Although there are no valuables there - the Holy Water from House of Mother Mary is in it! So I went to the Pegasus office and filed a lost baggage claim, and they told me that they will forward my luggage to Manila if they locate it.
Crestfallen, I continue on. On the way out I pass by the carousel and I noticed that my luggage is there - together with the batch from the London flight. I retrieved it then went back to the office to sign the lost and found form.
And we are off! I tried to catch some sleep on the plane and I did doze off.
We started to board the plane.
Tbilisi Airport, 3:00am
I arrived at the airport around 3am. There were no issues at check-in or immigration, and I spend the time waiting for boarding at the concourse. I am flying Pegasus Airlines today.
Envoy Hostel, 2:30am
I only had a couple of hours sleep before the alarm went off. Soon after taxi arrived to take me to Tbilisi Airport.