It was our last full day in Turkey and my family and I wanted to make the best of it by checking off the last few things we still hadn’t had the chance to see. We got up early to catch the ferry from Eminonu to Uskudar. Uskudar is on the Asian side of Istanbul, and only a 20-minute ferry ride from the European side.
Right off the dock was a large park with several kiosks selling kabab sandwiches and snacks for hungry commuters. We bought several doner kabab sandwiches and containers of ayran and sat down to enjoy the view of the Bosphorous.
We explored the neighborhood for a bit and then took the next ferry back to Eminonu. At Eminonu’s Golden Horn, we peeked into Yeni Mosque for a few minutes, exploring the courtyard and busy area outside full of hawkers selling grilled corn and freshly-baked bread.
A few steps away lies Istanbul’s Spice Bazaar, which you can smell before you see. The aroma of coffee, cinnamon, olives, peppers, and saffron all blend into a heady scent that draws a steady stream of Istanbullus and travellers alike.
We bought coffee at the renowned Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi and a cezve, or Turkish coffee pot at a stall nearby. On our way out, we purchased some eggplant, okra and tomatoes for that evening’s dinner.
The next morning we got up early to say goodbye my uncle and his wife, who were heading back to Tehran. My family and I took the metro to Ataturk Airport, where we awaited our flight to London, with a quick stopover in Munich.
I had caught a cold during my last few days in Turkey and by the time we reached London, it had developed into full-fledged pneumonia. The overnight stay we were to have in our hotel ended up being an overnight trip to the emergency room (thanks for being free, NHS!). Suffice to say the transatlantic flight back to the states was excruciating. But aside from that little snafu, the trip was an amazing experience. It’s been three months and I’m still dreaming of Istanbul. And Paris. And London.