Mediterranean islands never disappoint, they are a sure bet. Corsica is not only as beautiful as the others, is possibly the most complete, and therefore, possibly the best; It has all kinds of attractions, mixing some of the best things in Spain, France and Italy: Continue reading “Corsica”
Different companies manage public transport. We must be aware and active in the lines, because if we don’t pay attention, locals usually try to sneak. You should also take precautions with pickpockets, but no more than in any big city.
- This card allows you to save almost 50% on public transport, even more if you are going to transfer:
- A simple trip costs 5 liras, with the card costs 2.60.
- Without a card you can not transfer, so two journeys would cost 5 + 5 lire, but with the card they cost 2.60 + 1.85, and the more transfers, the more the price will decrease.
- It can be used in buses, trams, suburban trains, the subway, funiculars, non-recreational ferries and even in some public toilets.
- It is replacing the old Akbil device.
- It is bought and recharged in stands and machines in the main stations of all these means of transport, also in press kiosks. The machines only accept 5, 10 and 20 Turkish lira bills and provide information in 8 languages, including English.
- It costs 10TL, of which 6 are not returned and 4 count as credit. In press kiosks they cost 8TL and do not bring credit.
- You only have to pass the card through the sensor when entering, not when leaving, so the same card can be used by multiple users.
- If we do not use it, we have to buy tokens in the machines, but nowadays they are no longer accepted in buses and soon they will not be able to be used in any means of transport.
- They are relatively modern, clean and in good condition.
- There are 4 lines. The main ones for tourists are:
- 1: from Ataturk airport to Yenikapi (south of Sultanahmet), passing through Aksaray (west of Sultanahmet) and the main bus station (otogar). It is important to note that Aksaray metro stop is not the same as Aksaray tram stop.
- 2: from Yenikapi to the north of Beyoglu, passing near the Galata Tower and the Grand Bazaar, among others.
- Open from 6 am to midnight.
Little useful for tourists, since currently they do not pass through Sultanahmet.
- Efficient if not for the traffic congestion.
- They tend to be very full.
- The Istanbulkart is mandatory.
- There are two bus systems. If possible, you have to choose the Metrobus, because they have their own bus lanes, which although they are not always respected, facilitate the flow of them.
- Most work from 6 am to 11 pm. The nightly rate is twice the day rate.
- Most have panels, sometimes electronic, indicating the stops.
- They are very modern.
- There is a very useful line for tourists, the T1 line (it has replaced the old lines 38 and 47) is the main means of transport in Sultanahmet. Some trams have a shorter route than others. Pass by Sultanahmet towards Eminönü (where we can take a ferry), cross Galata Bridge to Karaköy and Kabataş (more ferries), from where you can take the underground funicular to Taksim.
- Every 5 minutes from 6 am to midnight.
- At peak times they may be full, and sometimes they do not accept passengers. It may be advisable to walk to the previous or later stop.
- Useful and pleasant if we want to move to the destinations they cover.
- In most you can use the Istanbulkart.
FUNICULARS AND CABLE CARS
You can use the Istanbulkart or pay a jeton. There are two of each.
- Funicular “Tünel”. From Karaköy, at the base of Galata Bridge (Galata Köprüsü), to Tünel Meydanı. Every 5 minutes from 7am to 10.45pm. 4TL.
- Funicular from Kabataş to Taksim Meydanı. Every 5 minutes from 6am to midnight. 5TL.
- Cable car from Eyüp to Pierre Loti Café (8am to 10pm). 5TL.
- Cable car of Maçka (near Taksim) and the İstanbul Technical University in Taşkışla (8am to 7pm). 5TL.
Not recommended, since traffic can make us get stuck for almost an hour and many of the taxi drivers are not honest.
- Official ones are yellow and quite modern, most are Toyota or Hyundai. One of another color should not be used.
- The taximeter is mandatory, but some taxi drivers will try to negotiate a fixed price claiming that it does not work. In that case, we must insist that he uses it, or most advisable, leave the taxi, since we will have run into an unreliable driver. Taxis waiting for travelers in tourist areas such as Aya Sofia or the bus station are especially inadvisable. As in many other countries, it is preferable to stop one that is on the street.
- In case of using the taximeter, they are reasonably cheap: 4 TL minimum and then 2 TL each km; a journey from Sultanahmet to Beyoglu should cost about 25 TL.
- There is no nightly rate.
- You also have to be aware of the change. It is recommended to count aloud each coin or bank note that we give, since sometimes they return the wrong change claiming that we have given a smaller bank note than we have actually given.
- The old ones do not usually have safety belts.
- If we cross to the Asian side, you have to pay 7TL toll.
- Minibuses that leave when they are full, usually very full, similar to those seen in developing countries such as Egypt or Bolivia, but more modern and comfortable. In general, they are of little interest to tourists.
- The destination will be written on the windshield.
- They stop continuously, every time someone wants to go down or up. To hop off you must shout “İnecek var (II-ni-djek uar)!”, which means “someone wants to go down”.
- Pay in cash to the driver. The prices vary, but are usually similar to the rest of public transport.
It is dangerous to travel by bicycle, in general the rest of the vehicles do not respect them.
MORE TRANSPORT IN ISTANBUL
<AIRPORTS GETTING THERE BY LAND>
- I was there 3 days at the end of December 2005 and 3 more in March 2012.
- Recommended number of days: 2, plus one for the Great Ocean Road.
- My score: the city 4/5, but because of my friends Kym and Tam I rate it 5/5. If you knew them, you would also do it.
The first time I went to Melbourne I did not intend to spend so many days, but I was exhausted after a month without rest visiting the east coast, the Northern Territories and the desert, so I decided to take it easy, and discovered a so nice city, that the second time I saved time to spare to enjoy it again properly. Continue reading “MELBOURNE”
- I was here: 2 and a half days in June 2018.
- Recommended number of days: without museums, in 2 days it can be seen.
- My score: 4/5.
The truth, I would rate it 3/5, for two reasons:
- The works. Maybe it is not the best time to go: Aya Sofia has a good scaffolding inside, the Blue Mosque another that occupies the entire vault, the New Mosque is full in reforms, 2/3 of the Chora Church are under restoration…
- I expected more. I know more than one person who describes Istanbul as “the most beautiful city in the world”, and many others who, if they do not say it is the nicest, do consider it one of them. I do not share that concept of beauty, my opinion is that the most beautiful cities not only have great attractions, they are the ones that are beautiful at every step, and that is not the case of Istanbul, but it does have the attractions. It is also an interesting and original mix between Mediterranean Europe and Middle East, perhaps the only city that can boast of that, sometimes reminiscent of Athens, and sometimes reminiscent of Cairo, but more to the first.
But expecting more does not mean that I don’t give credit:
- In the city of the Byzantine-style mosques, neither the Blue, nor the New, nor the imposing and restored Suleymaniye shade Aya Sofia, one of the architectural marvels of civilization. This colossus over 1500 years old was already standing centuries earlier than any existing European cathedral, and is much older than the rest of mosques in the city. Although deteriorated inside (and how it will not be if they allow stray cats and pigeons to wander around inside, even a small hive in a corner I found…), its magnificent interior remains in golden and blue tones, with Muslim and Christian motifs coexisting.
- The majestic and different palaces of Topkapi and Dolmabahce.
- The Grand Bazaar and the small Spice Bazaar, although modernization has reduced it essence, are still full of color and occasions, being wide and without feeling overwhelmed.
- The Bosphorus Strait offers excellent views to enjoy in one of the many and cheap (not even € 3 per hour and a half) cruises that cross it.
- Although I will not give the approval to the perhaps too new area of Beyoglu, which seems Preciados street in Madrid, or Taksim Square, which may be very important, but it is only a large esplanade.
- Whether in the old part or in the new one, there are tons of restaurants with a thousand terraces on the street or on rooftops.
- With modern transports and new subway lines under construction, the city shows a frank impulse.
Given the power of Turkish Airlines, I have no doubt that I will end up returning, even if it is by a stopover; I hope all works have finished by then.
WHAT TO DO
- AYA SOFIA, THE BLUE MOSQUE AND CISTERN BASILICA
- TOPKAPI PALACE
- GRAND BAZAR, SPARK BAZAAR, SULEYMANIYE MOSQUE AND NEW MOSQUE
- BEYOGLU: NEW AREA, GALATA TOWER AND DOLMABAHCE PALACE
- BOSPHORUS CRUISE
- WHEN TO GO
- GETTING THERE BY LAND
- GETTING AROUND IN THE CITY
- ACCOMMODATION AND RESTAURANTS
- DANGERS AND ANNOYANCES
- I was here: April 18, 2013.
- Number of days recommended: the only recommendable thing is to visit its neighbor Aoshima and continue.
- My score: 1/5.
As I usually clarify when I low score a city (1/5 means “I do not recommend going”), Miyazaki is not a dangerous or unpleasant city. On the contrary, Continue reading “MIYAZAKI”
We went to Shikoku because in Tadotsu there is the Shorinji Kempo main Dojo, martial art that my friend and travelbuddy in this trip Manuel Martín practiced. Since we were going to go, he insisted that we stay one or two more days; literally his words were: “I do not know what is there, but I think it has to be cool.” Since I knew absolutely nothing about Shikoku I could not refute his argument, and from this anecdote I learned that sometimes it is not bad to let go by instinct, because the overall experience was very positive. Continue reading “Shikoku”