We kicked off the Bayram by crossing off another item on our Istanbul bucket list: climbing to the top of Galata Tower. It’s one of those things that we’ve always wanted to do, but have never bothered because it’s usually ridiculously crowded and there are too many other interesting things in Istanbul to waste that kind of time in a line. With the holiday, most people have ditched the cities for their hometowns, so it seemed like the perfect time.
I’m seeing every day how my efforts to learn Turkish are paying off. When I asked for tickets in Turkish, instead of getting the usual yabanci price, I got tickets for both of us to go up to the tower, plus the simulated helicopter ride downstairs for what it would have cost for one person just to see the tower. Harika!
As expected, the views of the city from the top were spectacular. We tried to time it at sunset, which we did pretty well, though the sky was a bit cloudier than I would have liked. I’ll just let the pictures speak for themselves on this one.
The helicopter simulation, while a bit kitsch, was a nice little addition to the tower tour. Basically, it was a miniature iMax theater with 3D goggles that took you on a virtual tour of the whole city, highlighting all of the famous landmarks. My favorite part was the mist when they feigned diving into the Basilica Cistern. We weren’t allowed to get photos, but I would definitely say it’s worth adding to the agenda if you’re already going to the tower anyway – especially if you get the “Turkish” price. I loved walking through all the winding tunnels down to the bottom!
We rounded off our evening with some tasty falafel wraps (pesto + grilled eggplant + falafel = heaven…who knew?) and a stop at a juice stand before heading back to our hotel for some light reading by the window. That makes me sound 25 going on 80, but I’m totally fine with that. 🙂
I’m looking forward to spending a couple more days in the Galata area before flying off to Italia!