Posted by: mypassportandi | March 16, 2011

Istanbul -Hotels

I decided to split my vacation between two continents…I wanted to experience the Asian and the European side of Istanbul… to be honest  the Asian side looks better from the European shore .. Asia is mostly residential… all the touristic stuff is on the European side..

Sumahan on water (Asia)

We stayed in the junior suite… it was nice and spacious with a good view straight on the Bosphorus… the hotel offered a free boat rides 3 time day to the European side…This hotel was not about the location (which was a little remote) or its design, it was all about the staff  … The concierge of the hotel, Nural, was AMAZING… He was a great help in every sense.. I can say that Nural has ruined me for all other concierges in the world.

Witt hotel (Europe)

I am not sure how to describe this hotel… it is simply a MARVELLOUS piece of art…. The hotel design is very hip and trendy… I laughed every time I was in the elevator (check the video) .. I loved those small ideas  … before leaving Sumahan we asked the concierge to call Witt hotel and tell them that we are going to check in early … Luckily this triggered some jealousy issues with Witt hotel’s concierge.. so they upgraded us to the terrace suite … room 62 .. the view was breathtaking  … the hotel is just a few minutes’ walk from a tram station, Istiklal st and Taqsim square … the staff is amazing too they will do all they can to help  you.

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Posted by: mypassportandi | March 14, 2011

Metamorphosis of a Taxi driver

The clock ticked 12 midnight…imitating Cinderella, I decided to go back to the hotel ..  It was windy, and cold when I saw him .. I handed him the hotel card … he looked at me and smiled .. his smile was beyond language … I felt he could drive me to the moon … I thought this journey would end just like a fairytale … but, as in all fairytales, there is always a beast or sorcerer …. The taxi driver changed into one 😮

Here the story begins … the ride lasted more than an hour though the hotel was 15 minutes away .. we started arguing but he kept on replying in Turkish …. The meter was going CRAZY!!! Reaching  70TL for what should have been a 20TL ride … Unfortunately we told him that we won’t pay him more than  20TL before reaching the hotel, which made not park directly in front of it… when we gave him the 20TL he suddenly  turned into a fluent beast … he spoke English PERFECTLY!!!!  He stepped out of the taxi and the argument between him and my husband started getting louder … I got really scared .. I bolted to the hotel with my arms flapping around and busted the door screaming ‘HEEEELP!!!! My husband is having a fight!’ … two of the hotel staff went out to help … I kept watching from across the road … the argument lasted for another few minutes then the beast took the 20TL and left :p

 Hope you enjoyed this story Muchachaa :*

Posted by: mypassportandi | March 13, 2011

Istanbul Taxis

Ooooooooooooooh!!!!  Taxi drivers .. where should I start … I wouldn’t want to mention my fights with them not to scare you off … But prepare yourself for a battle … that was the only dark spot in my  trip .. Taxi drivers act as if Istanbul is foreign to them.. They had ingenious ways of ripping us off, one of which is acting STUPID!!!! .. After a couple of fights, I decided to create the Turkish taxi guide book:

Here are the rules

  1. Ask the concierge  for the hotel card which contains the address in Turkish
  2. Give the card to the taxi driver before stepping foot in the taxi
  3.  Ask the concierge for the approximate distance and cab fare for your desired destination
  4. Whenever possible,  let the concierge call you a taxi  
  5. Time your trips and keep your eyes fixed on the meter  so you have a benchmark
  6. Last step keep your fingers crossed

I know I sound irritated however I assure you that taxi drivers couldn’t ruin my trip ;p

I am known for being cheap … that is why I didn’t hire a driver in the first place … when I moved to the European side a tram and a short walk were all I needed …

Posted by: mypassportandi | March 12, 2011

Istanbul

After watching all those Turkish series (I am saying this with shame ;p) I thought I must go to Istanbul and get myself one of their teapots … I wanted to do that the first time I was there but I didn’t because my bag was too small … Finally, I did it two weeks ago, I HAVE A TURKISH TEA POT!!!

Along with the teapot I brought back an admiration for this ancient city.. I have always thought that a country with no beach is like a house with no windows .. Istanbul has a Biiiiiiiiiiiig window: the Bosphorus is everywhere … it separates Asia from Europe which makes Istanbul the only city that is built on two continents …. FYI, Istanbul is not the capital of Turkey (as I thoughtL)… when the new republic of turkey was formed they moved their capital to Ankara … but in my defense Istanbul was the capital of the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, the Latin Empire and the Ottoman Empire … by the way I couldn’t believe how huge the Ottoman Empire was … even Kuwait was part of it … check it out

Enough with this boring history class … Istanbul was amazing though the language barrier was frustrating and the weather was horrible: it was cloudy, windy, raining and extremely cold … Never ever eveeeeer go between end of February and beginning of March… but this didn’t stop me from walking around and discovering Istanbul …

Let’s call this an introduction.. Starting from tomorrow I will have a daily post on my experience in Istanbul …

Posted by: mypassportandi | March 9, 2011

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