Friday, 14 September 2012

Last Days in Istanbul

Yesterday, after getting directions from Yusef, we trammed it to the river to catch a ferry to the largest of the Prince's islands. It took a while to get ourselves sorted - the ATM wasn't working so we couldn't top up our travel card, so we couldn't catch the public ferry which requires use of the travel card.... Fortunately there are many ferry options and we caught one where we didn't need to use the travel card.

The ferry was trailed quite a way by sea birds (large sea gulls). Turns out people throw food, or hold it in their fingers and the birds know a free lunch is on offer. It makes for some entertainment on the hour long ferry ride.

The island has no cars, you get around on a bike or horse and cart. we were feeling too lazy to ride bikes and were going to  take a short ride in the horse and cart (johanna's wish) but despite the sign seeming to indicate a range of rides (from 10 lira to 60), the guy wanted to charge 60 Lira and we couldn't make ourselves understood. Perhaps we misunderstood the sign, it was in Turkish after all, but the people in line behind us argued (in Turkish) with the guy and some bargain was struck. I think all the carts just want to take the longer rides to make more money, a short ride is not worth it!

So that idea was abandoned (we didn't want to pay 60 Lira or spend an hour in the cart), we consoled ourselves with Kumpir (baked potato) sitting on the pier watching the world go by. We started by sharing one but it was so good we had to go back for a second.

Last night we decided to try a place that advertised Turkish ravioli. The Ottaman restaurant has a woman (elderly in this case) sitting inside the front window making the ravioli in the mornings (we saw her one day as we passed by) and in the evening she makes fresh Gozleme - a flat bread stuffed with various fillings. There is a large circular disc beside her that the bread cooks on. We enjoyed watching her masterful work. We were lucky enough to score a window seat, sitting on cushions around a low table, an atmospheric way to spend our last night in Istanbul. We topped it off with coffee/apple tea and baklava of course.