This will be the last postcard for a while. My husband and I have been travelling since last October. We have visited 4 countries and met many wonderful people along the way. We learned a lot on this trip, about the places we visited of course, but also about ourselves. So this is a bittersweet time for us as we are preparing to return to Canada for a few months. We look forward to spending time with family and friends back home but it’s always hard to say good bye to all our new friends as well.
Here is how we spent our last week in Istanbul. Not many people have been to Riva, I think, but we really loved it. Located on the Black Sea coast at the mouth of the Bospheros, Riva is a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of Istanbul for a bit. We got there on the public busses, though it took over 2 hours. The last bit of the journey takes you through farm country at the edge of the city. Riva itself is a small beach town most of the year but in summer the lovely beaches attract many visitors. In early April we walked along the beach with only a friendly dog for company.
We also did some shopping, being in need of some new paperbacks for the long flight home. So where is the best place in Istanbul to buy English books? At Robinson Crusoe bookshop, located in the SALT building, an art space in a former bank. This is a very interesting place to visit. Besides the bookstore there is also a gallery, a cafe and a library with free wifi.
A really fun neighborhood to explore is the area around Istanbul University. Take the M2 metro line to Vezneciler. The university buildings are very impressive and in the streets near there you find sweet little cafés and restaurants that are not very expensive. My favorite cafe here has to be Süleymaniye Çikolatacisi. We were actually looking for a different place the other day when we found this sweet café. The tables are covered in dry rose petals, and our hot chocolate and Turkish coffee were served on a heart shaped tray. How perfect is that for our wedding anniversary!
Sometimes it’s a good idea to buy skip the line tickets on line for major attractions. In Turkey the museums however are not set up to process electronic tickets, so we had to find the small office of a certain travel agency in the busy streets of Istanbul. This took quite a bit of time, though for me it was a lot more fun than standing in line, so you decide!
We saw the absolutely stunning Topkapi Palace on the last day we had for sightseeing. It’s incredibly beautiful! I especially loved the gorgeously patterned tiles covering most of the walls. The gardens are just waking up from their winter rest and smelled wonderful with many scented flowers. There are exibits of ceramics, clocks and armor which are very interesting as well. And from many of the terraces you get a beautiful view of the city. This was a real treat for me and a great finale to our amazing trip.
Now it’s time to go. There is an airport shuttle service operated by Havabus that leaves from centrally located Taxim Square. The first shuttle leaves at 4 am, the last one 1 am and it’s only 14 Lira per person. Istanbul is in the process of switching to the new airport at the moment so their schedule may change. For more information about the airport shuttle click here.
Now we are sitting at the airport, waiting for the final flight of this amazing trip. In the coming months we hope to explore closer to home, in our home province British Columbia, Canada. Hopefully you will enjoy reading about this as well.