With a flight to Jordan in the early evening, effectively, we only had about half a day. Through our brainstorming session, our options included a trip up the Golden Horn to St. Stephen’s, a trip across the Bosphorous to the Asia side for a little stroll, or something in between.
In the end, we decided to take a truncated version of the full Bosphorous tour, which usually runs from 10 am to 3 pm (1 trip, 20TL/~14USD) during the winter, with more trips during the summer. Run by other non-official companies, it starts from a harbour further inside of Eminou, and goes up two bridges, and covers both the European side and the Asian side. It lasts about 2hrs, and touts along Eminou will be happy to introduce this 10TL (~7USD) tour to you, if you will give them your time of the day.
It was a pretty decent tour, and it fit into our tight schedule, which would not have allowed us to take the Bosphorous Tours offered by the official Turkish travel company. It is quite true that parts of Istanbul are best seen from the sea, as it will be hard to appreciate the scale of some of the buildings, unless you see it from afar. I could barely capture the pictures of some of the palaces even from afar! Imagine how large they will be up close! It was definitely a useful way for us to spend our time!
To get to the airport, we took one of the airport minivans available in the many tour operators in Sultanahmad district. For 10TL (~7USD) per person, they have a door-to-door service, that leaves approximately once every hour, half past the hour. One of the booths can be found outside the Hagia Sofia. It took approximately half an hour before we got to the airport.
Our flight to Jordan was somewhat delayed, so by the time we reached Amman, it was time for us to rest in preparation for our super early JETT bus to Petra the next day. My first impression of Jordan was not exactly good, as everything looked very one-colour and concrety.
For this night, we stayed at the Arab Tower Hotel on Hashmeni street, near the Roman Theater in downtown. It was about 14JD/~20USD per person per night. I didn’t really like it, as the bathroom was small, and looked pretty crummy. Thankfully, it was just one night, and we’re off to Petra. (I don’t take photos of crummy hotels)
Bridge linking Asia and Europe, and the Asia side
Last meal in Istanbul – Shwarma Plate and Chocolate Pudding (about 12 lira)