“You can’t understand a city without using its public transportation system.”
Will start to tell you about the fantastic “Istanbulkart”. So easy to buy when you understand how.
When you have bought your card – the fare will 2.60₺ and for every time you change from the tram to ferry on your journey (one direction), from the tram to ferry… or whatever it will cost you another 1.85₺. Then you blip your card when enter metro station, ferry terminals, and tram stops it will be able to see on the screen how much money you have left.
The yellow machines are not always to be found inside the metro station, but they will be near the entrance to the station. Like at Şişhane station, the ticket machines it to be found by the red tram stop. In the video she tells us to put in a 10₺ in the machine, you need to put in a 20₺/$3.35/£2.56/€3.00/31.55SEK and you will get the card and 14₺ to travel for. Brilliant system.
If you want to return the card and get your 5₺ – make sure there is no money left on the card, because you don’t get them refunded. You can travel up to 5 persons on one card, but only the first person that gets a discount on the fare. All public transport in Istanbul is very modern and spotlessly clean … stations, stairs, escalators, and elevators.
So with this sorted … get down to some Christmas shopping. Istanbul has fantastic shopping malls, but they are a bit far from the city centre and it means both Metro and buses. But have some work on Goggle I found one, not the biggest, but big enough for our needs .. only 3 stops from our metro station, Şişhane and if you look properly and read the signs when you come up from the train you will more or less land inside the shopping mall, which of course I didn’t do.
We took metro M2 in direction Haciosman and got off at Mecidiyeköy-Şişli and use the Şişli exit and you will come up just in front of the Istanbul Cevahir Mall. There the real Christmas met us. Never been to a shopping mall in Istanbul, so I was ready for that experience.
The real reason for us going to the mall was that my friend Bärbel wanted to get a hair wash and styling … and I had found a hairdresser on the first floor (really ground floor for me) in the mall when checking it out the mall online. We found the hairdresser straight away, Mehmet Tatlı. They took care of her at once and did a brilliant job for 80₺/£11/$13.50/€12/127SEK. Next time I visit Istanbul will I visit them for a haircut.
I got some small presents for my best friends … and a hair wax for myself. Some wonderful shops … with very nice leather products, but they have shoes in my size and not leather jackets neither. The Mall has 6 floors with loads of international brands like Mark & Spencer, GAP, H&M, and Watson drugstore plus Starbucks of course.
I parked my friend on a cafe at the ground floor and had a stroll around the mall and on the 6th floor, Burger King had a massive terrace with a fantastic view over that part of Istanbul. Skyscrapers are rising all over Istanbul now. While I was up there on the top I had to delight myself with a BK sundae.
I must admit that my feet had a tough time as I checked out all the floors, but I didn’t walk into every corner of the mall .. I kept me along with the balconies. A really nice mall – that I without any resistance will visit again.
The evening we dined at one of the top restaurants – but it was like eating in the dark … what a pity. Food and service were once again so amazing. Yeni Lokanta, only a couple of minutes walk from the apartments. It just started to rain as we arrived at the restaurant. For the first time, I can’t remember what I had for dinner, I remember the green drink that I started with: vodka, lemon, apple, and mint. Really nice. I have some bad images of my main course – 7 massive king prawns in a fantastic garlic and herb sauce. They don’t show their menu on their website neither.
And we had a very nice young Russian couple as next-door neighbours, they were now living in Geneva but had earlier lived in Copenhagen. They really put a special sparkle to your evening and put some light to our dark existence. They were going to stay in Istanbul over the New Year too.
Even if it had been raining and still did … the Istiklal Caddesi was fairly busy, I don’t know what hour of the day that street is totally empty.
“It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants.
The question is: What are we busy about?”
Henry David Thoreau