I wanted to add more pictures to my Istanbul post, especially pictures of the Dolmabahce Palace. This was one of the highlights of our days on the Hop On- Hop Off bus. This palace has been home to a bunch of past Sultans and is quite impressive. There are tours given daily of the premises and it lasts approximately 45 minutes.
Now, for the bad part. It is a disorganized mess. Considering that it wasn’t in the peak of summer, you would have thought things could be handled a lot better. First you wait in line to get your ticket. I think it was like 10 € per person. Then you go stand in another line to get into the Palace. This is where it sucks mostly. You are just left standing there, no one tells you when the next tour is, it’s freezing and you see people skipping line after saying a few words to the guy at the door. We were left waiting for at least 40 minutes. The guy then comes out, asks if anyone speaks Turkish, and if you do, you get to skip line and go inside, while everyone else is pissed off. You finally get inside and discover that it’s a guided tour only.
No headphones, just some tour guide who is barely audible as there is another huge group in front of you and soon enough, another group behind you. I could barely hear or understand what was being said. The worst part is that you are not allowed to take photographs either! Anyway, risking life and limb, and probably the guillotine, l managed to snap a few in the chaos, so you can skip the visit inside. Take pictures on the outside and you’re good to go. You are not missing much, just a bunch of pink rooms (what is the fascination with pink l wonder?). By the way, the picture with the half moon window, that’s where the women had to gather to watch the proceedings because women were not allowed inside.
We however, enjoyed visiting the Basilica Cistern. It is located in the Sultanahmet Square and lies below the city. It is so lovely and serene and fish swimming about peacefully. It is quite dark though, got to watch your step, but very highly recommended. The columns are gorgeous and there is the Medusa base at the end.
I regret that we didn’t have time for a Turkish bath. We had planned on it, but never got the chance, so its something l am looking forward to the next time.
Have you been to Istanbul? If yes, did you get a chance to visit the cistern or the Dolmabahce palace? What were your thoughts? If not, does it look good?