Saturday, 2 December 2017
Today is our last day in Istanbul. Our flight is later in the evening so we decided to do another around of sightseeing during the day.
In the morning, we went to the nearby shops in Sirkeci to buy souvenirs. We even bought a new bag since our shopping stuff couldn’t fit into our existing bags.
After that, we took the tram to Çemberlitaş Sofia had some fun chasing the birds near the Column of Constantine (also known as the Burnt Column). This is the same place we visited on day 5.
Since we had some time, we decided to take the tram from Grand Bazaar and go to Topkapi station. The plan was to visit the Panorama 1453 Museum. The museum commemorates the Conquest of Constantinople in 1453 by the Ottomans.
The main exhibition of the museum is the bombardment of walls of Constantinople. It was an amazing 360 degree exhibition with vivid detail. The Ottomans, being the strongest military empire of their time, had the best artillery technology at their disposal. Seeing the size of the bombards, it is no surprise Constantinople fell within just 53 days (most sieges for a city this big can last months).
As we exit the exhibition, we were able to see the remains of the old wall. It was a surreal experience, given that we just saw the battle reenactment from the exhibition.
After we were done at Panorama 1453, we took the tram to Eminönü and had lunch at the restaurant facing the pier.
We had a quick visit to the Spice Bazaar to buy some more souvenirs. As a guide to family holidays, it’s always safer to buy extra souvenirs, than less. Haha!
Went back to the hotel. My wife and Sofia wanted to rest. I went out for a quick Turkish coffee at Osmanlizadeler Cafe, near the hotel. I hope I’ll be able to find decent Turkish coffee once I’m back in KL!
Airport transfer came at 8PM. Turns out traffic was smooth and we arrived at Istanbul Atatürk Airport around 8:40PM. They have an extensive security check at the entrance of the airport. As for checking-in, we were pleased to see they provide a special counter for families and children, hence we get to skip the long queue.
This Istanbul trip has been a complete eye opener for me. I have gained a greater appreciation the effects of World War 1, the Ottoman Empire, and of course the Turkish people and their rich history. I just hope that I’ll get to visit other parts of this beautiful country in the future (Cappadocia, Ephesus, etc .. ).