It had been a while since we last went on a proper vacation. So I took off a week from work and we’re now in Istanbul, Turkey. The weather here is amazing right now and slightly chilly in the evenings. That’s a welcome change from the heat that’s finally rearing its ugly head back in Kuwait.
The package consists of 3 days of arranged activities and 3 days free for us. So far we’ve been on the Istanbul city tour yesterday and the Bosporus cruise today. Both were pretty good and you can tell that this is a major tourism hub because there’s a lot of tourists here and the guide says that its pretty much how it is throughout the year. The city tour consisted of a trip to the Blue Mosque (that has six minarets – an interesting story in itself), a visit to the Topkapi Palace and a few hours at the Grand Bazaar. The Bosporus cruise was very scenic and the cool breeze was amazing. Rohail had a great time after displaying some dislike for the cruise boat initially. Tomorrow we’re due for a trip to the Princes’ Islands.
The very first day was a surprise because it was May Day (Labor Day) and apparently they have some violent protests here in Taksim where our hotel is also situated. There were loads of riot police all around and there was a lot of violence going around. We just whiled it out inside the hotel till it was over by evening.
We’ve done our fair share of souvenir shopping and overall the trip is going really great. We plan on visiting Istiklal Avenue on one of the free days to check out the markets and stuff. Amongst the popular stuff we’ve noted here are leather products, carpets and lamp shades. The ‘evil eye‘ or ‘nazir’ is also very commonly seen around here and I’ve also picked up one fridge magnet version of it.