Istanbul Guided Tours See it My Way
You may ask yourself why a person working for a booking platform like privatetour.com would anonymously go on an Istanbul guided tour with their own company well many directors like to try their company services and I am no different. Our weekend started at 4 am with a flight from Izmir to Istanbul from the new airport which was actually wonderful, no drama, no long queues and no-hassle a total breeze.
My friends came along and we met with our guide Sercan at the airport, he was wonderful from the get-go and ready to take us on our Istanbul tours. Off we went in our air-conditioned car to our self-catering apartment at Lemon Residence which was modest but centrally located and perfect for us only a few minutes walk to Istikbal street.
Istikbal Street was like being on any high street in the UK and Ireland it had every kind of shop and is a shoppers paradise. The famous tram scoots up and down the street all day and you can take a ride for 5 Turkish lire. Walking it is the way to go in my opinion, to be honest as you can see the little nooks and crannies down the laneways that have little gems of stalls and goodies.
We decided to go it alone for the first few hours to do a comparison and to be fair we were doing OK until it came to the transport with a million taxi’s to hand a lot of them don’t really know the area but we persevered and went on to The Blue Mosque. We did not know there were doing extensive renovations but we carried on and it was worth it. So we got into the queue to collect our head scarfs and skirts which are a must when entering the mosque. We set ourselves up and headed in, the design and stunning ceilings are just breathtaking, and to see all walks of life moving around and being 100% respectful was wonderful and something I will never forget. Sometimes words are not enough and you just need to see the pictures to appreciate it.
We then headed to The Grand Bazaar WOW what an experience it has 22 gates that you can enter from and when you are inside it is huge, stay with your guide here we did and felt the better for it. There were so many lanes and so such a variety of things to buy it was all a bit much. You can buy leather, handbags, jewellery, pottery, carpets and nick-knacks. The star of the show for me was the gold-encrusted shoes which you can see in the picture when I saw them I was so tempted as I think every girl should have gold shoes (just to look at hehe). They also had a variety of street food, drinks etc but we decided to go outside to have a drink and it was better as there was a bit of air which we needed badly after walking around the Bazaar.
Food glorious food, OMG the pictures speak for themselves here I think and I do not need to say anymore just you can all enjoy!!
Finally all dress up and our we go for our night out be warned it is a little expensive for drinks averaging 70.00 Turkish lira for a cocktail while there were delicious it turned out to be an expensive night out for us but worth it. I will definitely go back again and having a guide is the way to go in the long run it saves a lot of money.