A few days back I wrote about my up-coming trip to Istanbul, Turkey, which I was very excited about. Unfortunately, the trip is already over and I have returned to my 'home' in Greece. The trip was amazing for sure, and it's all thanks to my dear Turkish pen pal and her nice flat mates. If you happen to read this; thank you so much for hosting me, it was a pleasure to get to know you all!!
My trip started on Wednesday (Oct 22nd) by packing... I really dislike packing, tho it's even more annoying to unpack. heh. For going from Thessaloniki to Istanbul I used a company called 'Crazy Holidays' as it seemed like the easiest choice. If you are interested in getting to know more about the trips that they offer, feel free to check out their webpage here.
The bus left a bit after 10 pm from Thessaloniki, Greece. I had tiny problems finding the correct place, where the bus left. That's why I left home very early, in order not to miss the bus. I was a bit skeptic about the area as it was already so dark, but everything went well in the end. Luckily, the bus was rather empty, so there was lots of space for one person. Other vise ten hours in a bus would have killed me! I had never spent such a long time in a bus before - I think the longest used to be around 4 hours. There were some not-so-common things in this bus ride, when I compare it to Finland. First of all they don't serve coffee/tea in Finnish buses (or at least I haven't seen such a thing!). Then the other thing was the bus not having a toilet, which was weird for me. After thinking a bit I remembered the French bus not having a toilet either back in 2010 when I was on a language course. Anyway, from my point of view the trip would be quicker if there was a toilet inside of a bus, however, it's nice to walk a bit during the breaks.
At around 8 am the bus arrived to the bus station in Istanbul, not that I would recognize it to be a bus station without the buses being there. haha. On the boarder between Greece and Turkey it was funny how people kept on wondering about my passport - why does a Finn travel by a bus from Greece to Turkey... I was happy when the bus was in its destination because sitting in a bus ain't that nice. I was tired, yet excited to meet my pen pal. It's always great to meet someone with whom you have been exchanging letters for years. Thank you for welcoming me, my friend!
After arriving to my pen pal's place, I relaxed after the not-so-nice night in a bus. Later it was time to eat lunch at a local university, which was an interesting experience for sure. Food served at Finnish universities is somewhat different and served in a different way. However, I'm always open to new tastes as long as it ain't too spicy. :)
On the first day we explored the city. I had already visited a few places (Sultanahmet camii, Yerebatan Sarayi and Topkapi palace) on my trip to Istanbul in 2010. I can recommend those places for everyone as well, tho! We went to Hagia Sofia, which is a famous old Mosque. I would recommend people to see it, it's worth the money so to speak. While walking around the mosque, I drank this weird drink made of milk, water and cinnamon (?). I believe it's good to try out all local dishes, drinks and so, of course, people should have some kind of a limit what to put into their mouth. haha.
Next step was to taste Turkish tea, which tasted nice - might have something to do with a lovely person putting so much sugar in my tea. heh. The place was amazing, as it was somewhat high, right next to the Topkapi Palace. Later I got to taste some famous 'dessert' thing, which was made of ice cream and topped with something warm. It was delicious!
|Some famous thingy with ice cream topped with something warm - delicious!|
The first day in Istanbul was great! It's such a great city, which is nice to explore with lovely people!
The weather was nice as well; sunny and warm. Who could ask for more?