Travelling Solo


I had the chance to plan BIG for my parents this year for their 25th Anniversary. I thought of the time that they had spent together and how often they let go of their own time, to help us with our problems. Also, many times the places we finally ended up visiting were those which we picked or that someone else recommended. I realized how much my parents had done for me all these years.

spainFinally I decided on Spain!!! Exotic and Beautiful Spain!! It was some place my mother had been wanting to go for ages!!

But selecting the destination was only half of the pressure. I had to select hotels, check locations and then check the costing. All in the while, this made me want to Travel Solo!!

While with inflation and costing worries on my mind, I turned to freelance work to supplement my income and I was delighted at the turn my life took. I started reading and reviewing books by independent authors and this opened my life to myriad possibilities.

It also made me dream of travelling solo, across different countries. I find many different places to visit every day online and looking at spain 2those photos and reading about a new country, a new city and a new culture only make me feel so excited. It makes me wish I had millions in my bank account so I could travel everyday!

I can’t really define what makes travelling so special for me. I do not enjoy packing (=well who does?) and airplane journeys aren’t the best. Neither have I had trips with friends like films (=even though I so badly want to). But planning this trip made me dream. It sparked a flame inside me, to go on a trek, to visit a different place with a group of totally unknown people and make friends for life!!

travelWhile we do our fair share of travelling in our cities and philosophically, we do travel through life, solo, but going to visit a new place, interacting with new people and having new experiences has a different flavor altogether. You suddenly have more experiences to talk about.

Even if you haven’t been lucky to travel abroad, do save up for it because believe me, there are so many stunning sights you have never even imagined. I have a bucket list of 1000 different places where I want to go and sights I want to see!! The sky is the limit when you travel. You are so out of your comfort zone that you adapt and learn! Being a foodie myself, a trip offers chances to taste new cuisine.

travel 2I’ve put up my Bucket List and I am going to be an Indi-Traveller, travelling on my own, discovering new sights and secrets!!! As I take a deep breath in, I can’t wait to put my best foot forward and fly solo. The world is my diary!! And it waits!!

Istiklal Caddesi – Dinner, Churches, Some Fancy Arches and Consulates


Day 3: 12th April 2011

 

I suppose i ended the last note at the point when we just edged past the Galatasaray Lisesi. And after the yummy snack we picked up. The rest of the walk was filled with plenty of fun and lots of memorable photos. The walk ahead also had a lot of buildings with beautiful carvings and intelligent lighting.

In the midst of a chaotic shopping boulevard there was a black gate and inside lay a pink building which exuded calm and serenity. That was Church of St Anthony of Padova. We didn’t know it back then but we do now thatit is the biggest Roman Catholic Church  in Turkey. It seems this Church was built by Italian settlers in 1725 but later was demolished and then rebuilt at the same site.

The building was designed by the Istanbulite Levantino Italian architect Giulio Mongeri, who also designed many other important buildings in Istanbul and Ankara; such as the Maçka Palas (which houses Armani Café and Gucci) in Nişantaşı and the Neo-Byzantine style Karaköy Palas bank building in Karaköy (Galata), Istanbul; as well as the first headquarters of Türkiye İş Bankası in Ankara.

The inside of the Church was dark with a lot of purple lighting. It was said at some time that the reason so many rulers used to robe themselves in Purple was that the colour was considered Royal. (=Not bad, explains why i love purple, maybe i was a ruler in some pichhla janam…hmmm Raaz Picchle Janam Ka..Anyone??…Anyone???)

Alrite back to the Church. There were people lighting candles in little tranches on the side a la Mount Mary Church in Bandra. In all it was a very good feeling to go there.

Oh i forgot to mention about the incident while we were snapping oops clicking pictures of the sign saying “Istanbul Shopping Festival”. Like the mad photo clickkers we are, we went on snapping and then suddenly this guy walks up to me and says “Thank You”… forget the fact that he was a decent looking Turkish dude but i had literal question marks floating over my head a la Archie Comics Style.

Then i realised that he had seen me hold the camera and had posed. (=Who does that…….we only click pics when our cams are aimed….forget it)

As we walked deeper and deeper looking at a restaurant to grab a bite, the tummies kept growling louder and louder. There were bakeries, shops with beef kebaps and roast meat with lovely smells (=Again vegetarians please value your senses and stay away from the by lanes)

Then was the prank stop . Ah this roadside stall was the best memory from the whole trip. There was this great stall which had stuff like Magic Ink, Fake band aids, swords you could push thru your head etc along with the standard supply of bugs, beetles (=More keedas for people who already have a lot of keedas :P). Thats how i get a photo of me with a nail through my finger and the funny disguise.

The stall owner was cool enough to pose with us for a picture with the stuff he has on display. (=Turkish people are really nice!!! Makes me want to go back!!) The stall opposite to this one had something for me!! Earrings!!!! Awesome ones, rock bottom price after a lot of bargaining!!! (=Bargaining is always nice!!! And funnn to see the other person’s expression)

Finally the perfect dinner opportunity presented itself in the form of BBQ Chicken. This is the place that looked really decent and I thought would have good food. Turned out the food was delicious (=For once i won’t comment on the food!!) Plus the waiter was helpful.

Totally refreshed we touched Istiklal Caddesi again when we trudged our now tired feet to the part of the Boulevard where the Consulates started. And what a Grand Procession it was!!!!! Holland, Russia, Sweden in a row with their Palatial Consulates with superb lighting. I could just imagine working in a place like this. Which opened out to a Shopping Boulevard 😉

Finally the road curved and we reached the end of the route (=Or so we thought we didn’t explore further). There the tram services started to take us back to Taksim Square (=Where we’d seen the doggie with the Fashion Jacket!! I’m telling you,, we should drop what we’re doing and invest in grooming care for pets!!!)

The return journey to Taksim was fast, not to mention the slight delay because a drunkard got into our tram and was subsequently thrown out by the driver. The fare is not much and the ride pleasurable. Photos were clicking as we passed the big malls and the Clothes Stores and the Perfume Depts!! Also there were a few mosques that we passed. (=All done with brilliant lighting.)

And then finally a cab got us back to the Golden Horn, Sirkeci to 202/203 and to thus put a close toDAY 3

(=Phew they just keep getting longer don’t they!!)

 

sTAy Tuned for Day 4’s Masti

Simits

 

Istanbul SHOPPING fESTIVAL

 

Sant’Antonio de Padova

 

WooHooo….hello, where’d the credit card go??

 

 

 

 

Holland’s Coat of Arms

 

Holland Palace

 

Russia

 

Scergie..Oops Sweden

 

The Palaces called Embassies

 

Tramway

 

Dinner

 

Lighting

 

 

A shoe made of Shoes

 

The Perfume Store

Dear Mama


Dear Mama,

I know i know its been a long time since i’ve written but these beastly schedules!!! I know you’re keeping very well. I think about you every day you know, remember those holidays at the beach when i used to build those castles and you got me the good ol’ chocolate ice from Mr Jones’s stall. I wish i’d get a break like that or that we could go to the beach together. Work’s been keeping me busy these days. I’ve been getting to learn a lot of new things. Its a little stressful but i wake up in the morning remembering your smile and that keeps me going.

I really wish you could see my apartment now. I’ve got some new stuff you’d like. I also finally got those paintings up which you’d kept in the attic all along as a memory. I thought that you were being funny keeping random bits of paper with my name and some random lines representing art, But now i see your point. These random bits remind me of you!!

Work is going good albeit a little tough. There are a lot of times when i remember those anecdotes you’d told me when i was growing up. You should see how I’ve changed from your “small cutie pie” to an “urban working woman.”

I wish i could tell you everyday about what happens, how the neighbors keep fighting or how my cooking is going by. I wish i could tell you how much i miss you when i need to go shopping. I wish i could hold your hand. There are times when i wish i could go inside the frame and hug you tight and never let you go.

There is so much i want to tell you. And so much of it i do tell you, through my letters. I miss your fragrance, that favourite perfume of yours, those pies you used to bake, those parties you dressed up for. There’s so much you’ve missed being a part of. So much i want to show.

I’m rendered helpless though. I know you had to go. I know you were in pain. I know it was for the best. But I can’t help wondering why the world’s sweetest, most understanding and accomodating mom who cooked the best food, took me to the best places for holidays and listened to my every rant and rave..had to go.

I could never even tell you how much I loved you when i held your hand that day. Words failed me as i looked at the serene smile on your face, as i saw life leave those eyes, to travel into a world of their own. I just knew that you’d left behind the world a much better place. And i loved you for that.

Waiting for a pat before i sleep

Loads of Love

Nina

(Dedicated to a mum who left behind a beautiful world, whose smile made a family smile)

The Welcome


The sudden darkness in the sky surprised her. After two months of summer sunshine, the blue sky had become an ally. She’d been occupied with work and seldom got to see the sky in element. Sometimes it surprised her with its vivid colours and always seemed to acknowledge her presence. The quiet gray was disconcerting.

She shrugged and pulled her bag closer. It looked as if she was a visitor, with her black bag and white sneakers. The crowd pushed her trying to make their way, in time to reach work. She leaned against the railing and watched the sky, curious. The more she saw it, the calmer she felt. The canvas above was in monotones of grey and white. It somehow seemed to colour the buildings around as well. Everything looked centred and in tranquil despite the obvious rush in front of a railway station.

Suddenly there was a breeze. She couldn’t help but smile. The breeze turned to droplets soon after. The first showers!!! There were screams as people rushed to protect themselves from the rain and mud. The earth rejoiced, and leaves danced.

She looked at the watch annoyed. It was time for her to go. A new day in office awaited her. Pulling her bag closer, she walked. It seemed that a hand was pulling her back. She’d always enjoyed the rains. A part of her ached to let go of all the trials and pressures and just spread her arms for a while.

Try as she might, she couldn’t ignore the feeling. Leaving her bag with a guard, she went and faced the sky. Little droplets scattered here and there welcoming her. The winds blew at her wet face sending shivers down her spine. She spread her arms out and gave the widest of smiles. She felt as large as the sky. Somehow she’d been waiting for this moment. At some deep level she felt healed. As if the raindrops and the gentle breeze were welcoming her back. From a frenzy of deadlines to a peaceful world. From being preoccupied to noticing the sky and smiling in pleasure. From holding back to spreading her arms out to give out all the love she could. Oh she could feel the sky spreading too, responding to her smile. She’d not felt this way for long.

After what seemed like an eternity, she turned and took her bag. There was a spring in her step and a wide grin on her face. What a welcome this was. What a celebration it was!

We are always in too much of a rush. Running to complete deadlines, holding the load of the world on our shoulders. We never realise there’s nature calling us, welcoming us back from that stressful part to the part where we just spread our arms, smile and rejoice with nature. This is who we are, celebration is a part of us. Look out of the window the next time, it might be your calling to rejoice, your welcome waiting!!!

Istanbul through the Miniaturk Eyes


Day 3: April 12, 2011

To all those who followed the Miniaturk series, it is nearing completion 😀 😀 (=I can hear those sighs of relief :P)

This is a view into why Istanbul merits more than a week in your travel agenda..I dont think i will detail about any of the monuments just list them.

There is also a section about Ottoman structures outside of Turkey which sheds light on the vastness of the Ottoman Empire at its peak. (=Turkey, Egypt, Greece, Syria, SudaN, Arabia…vast!!)

So i figured there’s not point talking about Istanbul monuments coz

a) There are TOO many

b) A few i’m covering in future notes. 😀 😀

So here goes..Whats HOT in Istanbul (=I’m not talking about the hot guys or the hot street food!!! :P)

1. Ataturk Olmpic Stadium (=Turkey’s bid for the Olympics!)

2. Istanbul Municipality H.O (=Pic 3/4)

3. Tomb of Master Architect Sinan (=The fellow who monopolised constructions in Turkey-450 structures!!)

4.Mağlova Arch

5.Suleymaniye Mosque (=One of the more magnificent of the 2800 mosques that decorate Istanbul)

6.Anatolian Fortress

7.Maiden Tower a.k.a Leander’s Tower (=Interesting name and legend..it seems the king drea)mt his daughter was bitten by a snake and had a tower built for her ala Shrek types. But his plans went kaput when a basket he sent had a snake hidden which killed the Princess 😥 ]

8. Dolmabache Clock Tower

9.Kuleli Military College

10.Eyup Sultan Mosque

11. Beylerbeyi Palace

12.Çırağan Palace

13.Dolmabahçe Palace

14.Bosphorus Bridge

15.Ataturk Havalimani

16.Hagia Sofia/ Aya Sofya

17.Blue Mosque/ Sultanahmet Camii

18.German Fountain

19. Haydarpasha Station/ Istanbul Gare

20. Küçüksu Summer Palace

21. Rumeli Fortress

Phew!!! And this i’ve exlcuded some of what we have already seen and a lot which were not so important!!! Istanbul is a really great place..and it definitely merits a visit 😀 😀

If you thought i’d only give you a list and run away, you were mistaken. I’ve got anecdotes as well.

Ok so we were wandering through the lanes of Miniaturk lookign stupefied totally at everything we had to see. We stumbled upon Ottoman relics out of Turkey as well in places like Egypt and Damascus. The Ottoman styles of architechture is stunning with great attention to Minarets and arches with deocrative entrances.

There was a bridge that connected one part of Miniaturk with the other which was the Bosphorus Bridge replication. Indeed so as the Bosphorus Bridge does the important part of connecting the European and the Asian side of Turkey.

On the right of this bridge was the Ataturk Airport. Now a fact about Ataturk Airport, this airport handles air traffic from all over the world but there is a second airport in Istanbul called Sabina Gokcen where the Turkish national airline, Pegasus connects European cities at low costs. 😀 😀

There is also a rail line where a railway is driven for kids a la the rail at the Santacruz Park (=:P There is a train there…lots of funn!!) WE posed ob!!

A thing about the Airport : The planes there move..there is a line where a plane moves in a circle to give it a realistic feel of the airport..there are sounds that play so its exactly like an airport 😀 😀

There were a lot of monuements to see but the interest was dimming 😉 We marvelled at the beauty and the effort taken to make Miniaturk. We of course spent time taking a lot of TP pics like with me pushing the Galata Tower and holding a minaret etc etc.

After a huge huge tour, we rested our feet and had a chocolate as we watched kids drive remote controlled boats nearby (=1 turlish lira s’il vous plait) I would have liked to do that!!!!

After this we made our way to the Victory Museum which was an ode to Ataturk. But that as we say.. is another story..

Stay Tuned

Olympic Stadium

 

The Scoreline

 

Municipal Office

 

Istanbul’s MCGM

 

:p

 

Ataturk Havalimani (That reads Airport)

 

Topkapi Sarayi

 

Ataturk House

 

A bridge in Egypt

 

Damascus Station

 

 

Expanse of the Ottoman Empire

Miniaturk brings alive what lies in ruins today- The Grecian Connection


Day 3:12th April:

 

Greece has always been a country which has had a tremendous influence on the world, be it as an integral part of ancient civilisations, or as an extended empire that ruled half the world, or be it through their economic attrocities (=:P)!!

The Grecian Empire stretched all across the southern part of Europe from Spain, Greece, Italy, Egypt, Turkey, Armenia and a host of countries above the Black Sea!!

This note is dedicated to the Greeks who’ve lived beyond their times and left an indelible mark on the Turkish Landscapes. Although these lie in ruins today, they’ve been recreated for everyone to see.

The expanse of the Greek civilisation and their level of sophistication brought a sense of peace and order into the nomadic Turkish way of life.

These are the Greek Monuments that MINIATURK has recreated for you, me and everyone to see 😀

 

Library of Celsus in Ephesus: (Photo 2-5)

The library, which was constructed in the years 115-117 during the Roman period, is located at Ephesus (Efes) near Selçuk in the Aegean province of Izmir. It is famous for its magnificent facade which appears to consist of two storeys. Examinations of the ruins have revealed that the structure had three storeys. Rolled scriptures were stored in niches in galleries on the upper stor. The reading hall of the library was destroyed by earthquakes in the third century. The facade was then used as the back wall.

 

Temple of Artemis: (Photo 1,6,7)

Built in the ancient city of Ephesus – present-day Efes in the Aegean region of Izmir – the temple dates back to 334-250 B.C. Also known as the Artemision, the temple was numbered among the seven wonders of the world in antiquity. After the first temple was burnt down in 560 B.C., a new temple of the same size but three meters higher than the original was built on the same site. It was the biggest temple of the Hellenic period. It was demolished by Goths in 262 A.D. and was never restored.

 

Halicarnassus Mausoleum: (Photo 9,11)

The mausoleum which dated back to the 4th century B.C. was one of the seven wonders of the world in antiquity. The wife of Persian governor Mausolus (from whom we derive the word ‘mausoleum’) had it built in Halicarnassus – now Bodrum – in memory of her husband. The construction reflected an effort to challenge the magnificence of the Egyptian pyramids. When the wife of the governor was also buried there, the sarcophagus section was locked with a special mechanism.

 

The Altar of Zeus in Pergamon: (Photo 10,12)

It was built between 197-159 B.C in the ancient city of Pergamon in what is now the Bergama district of Izmir province. The monument, which describes the victories of the king of Pergamon and is dedicated to Zeus and Athena, contains representations of all the Greek gods. With its Ionian style columns, the altar has the most magnificent examples of reliefs from Hellenistic sculpture and, in particular, from the Bergama school of sculpture. It was discovered by German excavators in 1871 and taken to Berlin.

 

Aspendos Theatre(Photo 13):

The theater built in the 2nd century A.D. near present-day Antalya is the most important structure of the ancient city of Aspendos, which was located 6 km to the east of Serik. It was constructed during the reign of Emperor Antonius Pius. The city was founded by the Argos civilisation as a river port in 5th century B.C. The theater still remains today with its stage intact. An interesting fact is that stone tablets were used for tickets here.

These replicas and just the way they were kept made me feel so grateful that i was able to see great pieces of work and get an insight into ancient civilisations (=which has been a fav to read in those dusty ol’ History books 😉

But there is more of Miniaturk to come, this was only half the story, You’ve yet to see Istanbul, Ottoman relics outside Turkey, The Victory and War Museum and get an insight into the great Mustafa Kemal Pasha Ataturk, the revolutionalry who changed a nation and its thinking!!!

Stay Tuned

,

 

Picture Perfect Anatolia- Miniaturk Journey Continues


dAY 3: 12th April

Alright so we are back to Miniaturk, the park where every Turkish Monument is replicated for everyone to see.

 Q: How will you know which monument is in front of you and what it represents?

 A: (Ref Photo 9) The black box in the photo depicts an info box. On the Miniaturk ticket there is a bar code. A red beam catches the code and there is an audio that tells the person about the monument. This infomedia is available in English, Turkish, German and i guess a host of other languages.

Now a mention of some of the monuments which belong to the Anatolian region

??? What is Anatolia?

Anatolia also Asia Minor, is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey. The region is bounded by the Black Sea to the north, Georgia to the northeast, the Armenian Highland to the east, Mesopotamia to the southeast, the Mediterranean Sea to the south and the Aegean Sea to the west. Anatolia has been home to many civilizations throughout history, such as the Hittites, Phrygians, Lydians, Persians, Greeks, Assyrians, Armenians, Romans, Georgians, Anatolian Seljuks and Ottomans. As a result, Anatolia has been of interest to archaeologists.

Alright i’ll skim the gyaaani kisse and bring on some famous monuments 😀 😀

Amasya’s Yalıboyu Houses: (Photos 3 and 4)

These houses on the banks of Yeşilırmak River in Amasya were built at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. One of their most noteworthy features is that they were the first prefabricated houses in Anatolia. Indeed, some of them were put up within as little as one day. These houses in Amasya are fine examples of Anatolian Turkish civilian architecture.

The thing to notice is the detail with which the houses have been constructed. Also notice the 2 kids riding a bike and the detail. (=To be mentioned a lot henceforth!!!)

Mount Nemrut Ruins: (Photo 17 and 18)

Remains of the Commagene Kingdom are to found at an altitude of 2206 meters on Mount Nemrut near the town of Kahta in Adıyaman. Dating back to 80 B.C. – 72 A.D., these ruins are referred to as the 8th wonder of the world. On the eastern side of the open-air temple on Mount Nemrut are eight scuptured statues of gods, measuring in length from 8-10 meters, placed on wooden pedestals. These ancient remains were rediscovered by a German engineer in 1881. The site which was restored in 1984 was declared a National Heritage.

Again supreme attention to the detail. wonderfully done.

There are an incredibly large number of monuments,  mosques and artefacts in the Anatolian region and places like Ankara (=BTW the capital of Turkey!!), Izmir, Bursa, Edirne etc.

The other thing i want to talk about is Pamukkale. (=For those who the name doesn’t ring a bell, Pamukkale is the site where Ranbir Kapoor’s song Tu Jaane Na  was shot.)

Pamukkalai

meaning “cotton castle” in Turkish, is a natural site in Denizli Province in southwestern Turkey. The city contains hot springs and travertines, terraces of carbonate minerals left by the flowing water.

These naturally formed white chalk (travertine) terraces near Denizli are unique in the world. The series of cascaded pools are formed as a spring at 35°C with a high content of dissolved calcium bubbles up and leaves deposits behind it. It is known as Pamukkale, literally cotton castles. It is said that the water that flows through these is good for heart patients (=Not Medically proven, locally accepted)

We were stunned at this display. The amount of editing i’ve had to do is a testimony to Turkey’s rich heritage and the efforts put into this display..!!!! MUST SEE!!!

The next section deals with Greek Monuments scattered around Turkey which have fallen into ruins but have been reconstructed for everyone to see.

Coming Up: A Grecian Urn..Monuments by the Dozen

 

Ziraat Bankasi, Ankara

 

Ishak Pasha Sarayi

 

Stone Houses in Mardin

 

Detail Man!!

 

Bursa’s Ulu Camii (Great Mosque)

 

 

First Turkish War Boat

 

Seamen

 

Ankara’s War Monument

 

 

INFO Dibba

 

The Railway Line

 

A Cable Car

 

Exquisite

 

Precision and Accuracy

 

 

OMG

 

Mount Nemrut Ruins

 

Attention to the Detail

 

Erzurum’s Double-Minareted Medrese

8 Gods at Mount Nemrut

 

One Name TAG

Move Over Beckenscot…Miniatürk is Here..and How!!


Day 3: 12th April 

After the morning chow at Golden Horn (=Same old same old…Meze, yoghurt and eggs with the usual bread with preserves), we decided that on the agenda today was “Miniatürk” 

This place happens to be a little into the Istanbul suburbs (=On the European side of Turkey though) so we had to cab it. We had the reception ask for a cab and drove off along with our armour of woolens and jackets. The Cab driver was a quiet sullen one actually, (=We’re really used to cheery cab guys and pick up persons because we chat a lot with them) and it seemed as he resented driving us till there.

 

Driving through the Istanbul suburbs didn’t present a postcard version of the city. Of course the landscapes and the water along the road made it scenic but the houses were tumbledown and looked a little old.

Houses here are like the ones in the photo..but these houses were a little old, wore signs of occupation for years and had clothes hanging outside..also it was a little congested with a lot of houses packed together.

 

But I don’t mean congestion in the Indian way keeping Mumbai in mind…there were adequate open spaces and trees with beautiful tulips planted. It was a sight to watch but not as beautiful as the buildings are in the Historical Peninsula, the place where we were staying.

Right back to Miniatürk..

 

Miniatürk covers a total area of 60,000 square meters. Its model area is 15,000 sqm, making Miniaturk the world’s largest miniature park in respect to its model area. Miniaturk also boasts 40,000 sqm of open space, 3,500 sqm of covered area, 2,000 sqm of pools and waterways, and a parking lot with a capacity of 500 vehicles.     

 

The park contains 120 models done in 1/25th scale. 57 of the structures are from Istanbul, 51 are from Anatolia, and 12 are from the Ottoman territories that today lie outside of Turkey. Additional space was reserved for potential future models. The infrastructure was built taking into consideration the needs of potential additions. Therefore, Miniaturk will continue growing, modeling, in a sense, planned urbanization.

 

The park hosts icons of many cultures and civilizations. Models vary from the Hagia Sophia to Selimiye, from Rumeli Fortress to Galata Tower, from Safranbolu Houses to the Sumela Monastry, from Qubbat As-Sakhrah to the ruins of Mount Nemrut. In addition, some works that have not survived into the present, such as the Temple of Artemis, the Halicarnassus Mausoleum and Ajyad Castle, were recreated.

 

Special attention was paid to include every civilization that ruled in and around Anatolia and left their marks. Miniaturk traces a 3000-year history from Antiquity to Byzantium, from Seljuks to the Ottoman Empire and into the present day.

 

Aiming to create a fairy tale atmosphere, the Miniaturk project is divided into three main sections. The sections are Anatolia, Istanbul and the former Ottoman territories. The sections are separated from one another by small landscape designs that ensure continuity by guiding visitors throughout their visit.

(=Ok Enough Gyan!!)

 

Miniaturk is a vast expanse of land which has been very well planned. Also it shows a glimpse of Turkey (=Rightlu summed up as Turkey on My Plate), you do get a rush tour of Turkey as a country and its shift through the times.

This is an excellent place to bring children and make them proud of their heritage. Like I said, it’s a MASTERPIECE.

This keeps monuments and history alive even though the actual may not be in a good condition. And there are no two ways about it, this is a place that has GOT TO BE VISITED.

So we got in after taking an entry pass, and saw about 2-3 groups of school students being led by their teachers to this park. I’m sure if i was someone who went to a school in Istanbul, I’d insist on being taken here.

Now the park is divided into 3 areas,

  1. Anatolia
  2. Istanbul
  3. Turkish/Ottoman Monuments outside Türkiye

I’m going to elaborate about these 3 sections separately so that I do it justice.

But what we did find here is the committed efforts of the Management to make sure that these Representatives are kept in proper condition and are regularly cleaned. Also that repairs are made as and when necessary in phases so that one section of the park is always being maintained. (=A pretty good way of making sure the entire park is functional).

There were people scrubbing these Reps with water and a brush. There was even a provision for drainage of water that’s on top of the monument so that water does not accumulate. You just have to appreciate the amount of effort that has been put into making these Representative Models and in taking care of them.

 

Don’t worry about this being boring and just being models on display. Your ticket to Miniatürk has a barcode that will be read by an instrument in front of the model which will give out some information about the Representative Model in either Türkish or English. That is decided by the barcode and the ticket (=You’re supposed to specify that you prefer English at the Gate!! I think other languages are also available like German but i’m not certain)

 

There is also a restaurant on the premises that serves good food (=Unlimited bread here as well!!) We did take a lunch break half way into the Anatolian region and ordered some Pizza, Soup, Pasta and a Curry. One was a Meal Special. And they don’t make their pasta from scratch its a thawed one on your plate for all the anti-frozen brigade. But the food is good and reasonable.

Along with Miniatürk, there is also a Victory Muzesii & Crystal Muzesii (=Muzessi-Museum).

The Victory Museum is dedicated to the Turkish war of Independence. During the First World War, Turkey fought with Germany and also overthrew the Caliphate to be established as a Republic on October 29th, 1923 led by Mustafa Kemal Pasha Atatürk.

The Crystal Museum is a place where a few famous landmarks of Turkey are showcased in crystal using light and special display.

So as you can see, Miniatürk is a fascinating place to visit if you’re cut short of time.

But DO spend your time slowly savouring the Representatives and appreciating the history. Also the Representatives are very realistically done with beautiful carvings replicated. Take your time with your camera and have a snack to keep your power going.

Coming Up: Anatolian Region, Istanbul, Victory Museum, Crystal Museum

Stay Tuned

Oh Wait…I forgot about the suicidal lizard. There are train tracks running through the entire park (=I didn’t see the train though) So at one place in the section for Ottoman Monuments out of Turkey, there was a lizard near the tracks, Maybe he wanted to get on the train, maybe he was suicidal..Point is, his wish remained unfulfilled. .. 😀 😀

Istanbul Suburbs (Rep pic only)

 

 

 

Airport being cleaned

 

Camera Shy

 

Mustafa Kemal Pasha Ataturk

 

Miniaturk

Panorama 1

Trick photography

Expansive

Keeping it clean

Conservation

Guardian of the Mini-Monument

Conservation Workers

Cleaning in Progress

A suicidal lizard

No Luck!!

Miniaturk

Under the Bridge – Galata Dinner


Day 2: 11th April Post 7pm

 

We had decided to explore the Galata Tower which gave us a panoramic view of Istanbul. (=Like I said, Istanbul on a High 😉) After the crowded panoramic view, we had a chance to explore the city during its best..Night!!! The sunset in Istanbul is colourful and inspiring. It is a symbol of a setting sun bidding goodbye to all the symbols of Turkey and to usher in the shadows that light up corners of the city (=Getting rather poetic aren’t I?)

Musings:

Istanbul has a way of charming even the deepest cynic. It is a city that mixes Tradition with Modernism and while the life is pretty fast paced, it is gentle enough to offer you a pillow of support and welcoming arms. Watching the sun fade into the distant horizon, you could almost imperceptibly note that life had paused, that you could catch your breath and that some good rest was on your way. You will never be friendless in Istanbul. The people here, perhaps nurtured by the subtle interactions with life and its pace, will always lend you a patient ear..It is this charm that makes Istanbul and Turkey a destination that MUST be visited.

By the time we descended from the Tower (=And had a pee break) the winds had started to blow and it was getting cold. We did have a break to fortify ourselves with some chocolate and strawberry milk. We decided not to go on the same way we came and took an alternate route. Along the alternate route, we clicked pictures with some awesome artistic display albeit in form of graffiti..(Photo 4)

 

Then along we walked the same way we came but on the other side of the Galata Bridge. The Fishers had packed their stuff and had left. We took a turn that would bring us to Level -1 of the Galata Bridge where the restaurants were located. There were many restaurants each essentially serving the same, sea bass and other fish of the Black Sea. Of course they had other options which were chicken and lamb and more so beef. (=P.S If you’re a vegetarian please stay off this lane…the smell itself will choke you!!)

 

There was a restaurant that was playing peppy rock music.. (=Turkish Music is Happening…Turkish Artists have very good songs) but i don’t know we didn’t stop there, we walked ahead up to a place called ‘GalataKupa Diner’ and had the owner come out and give us a sales talk on his restaurant and we decided to go there.

Psst: You should hear the things they say to make you come to the restaurant and they goodies that are up for grabs…”Sir, come here,, look at my Menu..this is the Speciality…Where u from ..oh India!! Great…Come into my restaurant,,I give you Apple Cai, I give you this salad free..Oh you try that, I’ll give you that free with some Cut Fruits on the House…Yes..yes come in here” (:P)

Back to the dinner…We sat close to the window, had the heater toast us, listened to some Turkish tracks, drank Apple Tea and just about lazed…:P

Our Menu was

1.Chicken Curry (=Like a Kashmiri curry with yoghurt)

2.A green salad  (=On the House 😀 )

3.A Prawn, Macaroni and Cheese casserole

4. A Fish Platter (=Different types of fish fried or baked or roasted…unless you love the intricate flavours of bland fish..you stay away,,veggies n vegans DO NOT approach this place at all)

5.All the bread we could eat

6.Apple and Cherry Tea

7.Cut Fruits on the House

8.Some Turkish Locums (=Gel delights ;))

All in all we had a nice time. The waiter who took our order was joshing that i was the”Boss” because i was the one keeping tabs on the money.

Post dinner, we walked slowly across the bridge. This was the first time we were out late in any foreign city without a car. Istanbul is a place where people rightfully retire to their homes when it is dark and because of the subtle and impressive lighting to the monuments, the streets look eerie and dark. Of course you have cars and the tram passing by but essentially at 9 which was when we returned, it’s quite an empty place. (=Not what us Mumbaikars are used to….we see people around at any time..)

When we came to face the Bosphorus, we could see the Bosphorus Bridge (=One of the longest suspension bridges in the world) It was lit up along the suspensions and the light kept changing in colour. Also there were people setting up a ‘Night Market’ of sorts. There were coats, books, toys and some other things.

But i have got to say you won’t belive how sunsaan this place can get late nights. So we got on quickly towards our hotel. We stopped at a local convenience store and bought water, ayran and munchies for the next day, passed through the Ozler lane, met George Clooney and then finally back to 202 and 203.

That finally concludes Day 2 (=Phew!!!)

Coming Up: Ottoman Traditions, Miniaturk…Beckenscot is ancient now,Istiklal Caddesi

Stay Tuned

 

 

An Istanbul Sunset

 

One of the by-lanes

 

The Tower at Night

 

4 Floating Idiots

 

Dinner!!

Istanbul on a High-Galata Tower


 Day 2: 11th April

 

After a long walk exploring the Galata Bridge, we made our way to the Galata Tower. The present day Tower is one that has been restored after fires burned down the Tower. I must add a word or two about their restoration, its usually done so well that you can’t make out that it has been done recently. Also there are efforts taken to keep up the restoration which means that the Monument is always looked after.

 

History of the Galata Tower:

Galata Tower was made by Byzantium Emperor Anastasius in 507 out of wood and called Watch Tower. In 1348 Geneose took over the tower and built it out of pile stone and called it Christ Tower. When Fatih Sultan Mehmet conquered Istanbul in 1453, the Tower got under Ottoman Management.

In the 15th century  it was used as a Dungeon. In the 16th century it was used as a Fire Tower. In the 17th Century, Hezarfen Ahmet Çelebi put wooden wings to his arms and flew from the Galata Tower to Üsküdar (=Really it seems he practiced with eagle’s wings, flew and was banished by Sultan Murad VI because he was thought to be a public menace…”he is a scary man, he can do as he wishes”)

Damaged in the fire of Galata in 1832, Galata Tower was restored by Sultan Mahmut the Second and used as a Sign Tower. Also restored in 1967, Galata Tower gained its present day appearance and is still used for tourist information. The Tower got its name from the historical province of Istanbul, Galata.

This is a popular place for tourists as the Tower offers a panoramic view of Istanbul. It is a mode to see the Historical Peninsula. Also it offers you a beautiful view of the Bosphorus, Sea of Marmara and the Golden Horn. The Bosphorus Bridge looks elegant in the horizon.

 

 

There is also a restaurant at the top of the Tower, guaranteed to char your wallet for the remainder of the tour..The Tower Management says “If you come to restaurant, you don’t need to pay an entry fee..”  (=Ever met our IT Officials..pay through your nose and we waive off an insignificant entry fee :P)

The Tower was packed to capacity..I mean the viewing portion was packed. And i don’t doubt why..the sunset is so beautiful, it paints the city in such vivid colours. The blue turns to orange and envelops you along with with the mosques across the Sea of Marmara. Also it puts the city across as being a vulnerable and tired soul who’s just about finished the day’s work..From the Tower, its a beautiful sight.

And it is a very popular Tourist Attraction.

Taking a full round of the Tower gives you a total panoramic view of both the Historical Peninsula and the Suburbs. Also you can see the Bosphorus Bridge and the Asian side of Istanbul. Like the photos below show…this is a sight that everyone wants to see. Which is why it was a very crowded audience on the top.

Also if you are going there, do take your arsenal of warm clothes becuase it will be windy. (=Do Not follow this if you’re going in the Summer-its a given). It is indeed a restful sight to see the sunset.

There was a point where we were stuck because too many people were moving back and forth but that can be forgiven.

As we made our way to the bottom, we stopped for a quick loo break and for the first time I saw women  waiting in a queue to use the restroom…(=Mighty Impressed i Must say!!)

By the time we made our way down to the square, the lights had started twinkling and the Tower and Istanbul looked like a mysterious figure in silhoute. Yellow lights softly illuminated streets, corners and monuments.

And we took it all in as we made our way to dinner.

Comin Up: Dinner, Day 3 dawns finally 😀

Stay Tuned

 

Istanbul on a High

 

Bosphorus

 

A Mosque in the Horizon

 

Panorama 2

 

The last goodbye

 

Panorama 3

 

Mellow shades of orange

 

A lining to the clouds

 

 

Panorama 4

 

Istanbul by Nite