I visited Istanbul between 1st and 4th October 2015. The 3rd of October I explored the Asian (Anatolian) part of this big town. I did not feel it very different to the European part, but smaller and maybe not so very hectic. I really liked it.
I arrived in Üsküdar by Marmaray and changed immediately to an underground to Kadiköy, because I have had an appointment with a Turkish guy, which I have got to know by the couchsurfing site. He was willing to show me around in his part of the town. Unfortunately I could neither phone, sent SMS nor connect to the Internet with my tablet. I even tried to connect to the Internet at the Starbuck Café in Kadiköy, but it was only possible by Facebook and I do not have that do not wish to either. Though we never met. The good thing to spend money at this place was, that I have got a chat with a Turkish woman. I asked her about the difference of living in the two different parts of Istanbul. Fortunately she has done both and she told me, that she prefer to live on this side, because there is not the stress one can experience on the other side.
I made my day by my own starting at the tourist information. They did tell me how to go by bus to the destinations I planned to visit, but before continuing to another destination I took a look at Kadiköy and I am happy, I did that. This part of Istanbul was really special. By the way I had a feeling, not to be in Istanbul, but in several small cities by going around to the different places.
I continued by bus to the Beylerbeyi Palace. I was a very unlucky, because the assistant sold me a ticket were I only was allowed to stay in the palace for a short time. I should have been waiting for the next period, but I did not know that, when I bought the ticket. Anyway I was allowed to be in the garden als long as I want. By the way I nearly mist the bus stop by beeing close to falling asleep. In the last moment I discemd, that I was at the bus stop for the palace. I could not see the palace either, from the bus stop, though I asked people, where to go. By this I found, that not all people are talking English on this side of the Bosphorus, while I did not met one person, who could not speak English on the other side of the river.
The inside of the Palace was so amazing, though if you ever will come to Üsküdar, go there and visit it! All was very magnificent and so different to the things I have seen before. Unfortunately it was neither allowed nor time for it to take photographs inside the palast. Therefore I bought a CD with pictures from the inside to remember. It was half price for visitors and very cheap. Below I put in some of my photographs from the outside of the palace and the garden.
Last but not least I was going back to Üsküdar. This place I had passed by bus when going to the Beylerbeyi Palace. For safety’s sake I asked two young man at the bus stop, which bus I should take to Üsküdar and I experienced, that even not all of the younger people in the Asian part of Istanbul are good in English. Anyway we managed to understand each other. Easily I came to Üsküdar, but I did not find the local bus to the Hamam, even I was asking at the tourist information center. They actually told me the wrong route and I did not find the right one, explained by the bus driver.
I planned to go to the Cinili Hamam in Istanbul before I was going on this trip. I did it for two reasons: On the one hand side it was the oldest hamam in Istanbul, on the other hand side, they were one of the cheapest. I used Google maps to find my way. I think I needed 45 minutes to go there. By that I have seen areas of the town, I never would have seen. Sometimes I was asking local people for the way. When I was close to the hamam, they already asked me if I am looking for the hamam ;-), but when I was not so close, it was not easy to get the right direction.
I enjoyed my visit in the hamam. It was the first time for me in a hamam, I have only heard of a German friend of mine, how it could be. This was a little different and I think, they were shortening the procedure for me, because I told them it is my first time and I do not know how to do. I also had to learn that it is not allowed to put the feet in the basin for the water. I had to put the water on me with the help of a plastic bowl while washing me before I was allowed to come to the middle board on get the scrubbing and massage. Unfortunately there were not much of a massage even it was one of the reasons I did go to the hamam. Naturally I could not take any photographs from the inside of the hamam, though you can read more about it here. When you see the pictures on the website you have to be aware, that the nicest ones may be from the hamam for men.
I was hungry and looking for a place to eat. I was surprised about the prices of the most restaurants, because they were higher than at the European side, which I have not expected. Finally I found a nice and clean restaurant with reasonable prices and good service. I really can recommend that one. By the way I ate a Saray Kebabi.
The meal was a local dish with beef in cubes, vegetables and all with a lock of cheese. It liked it very much.
I continued throughout the city and could enjoy some kinds of arts as well.
Finally I arrived at the ferry station to go back to Europe. I had to look for a while before I found the right ferry – going to Katabas. Actually the way back by crossing the Bosphorus did not at all take as long as going by tram, Marmaray and underground.