The 'Dear Diary's

2020 Trip to Turkey: The Tour Guide

Storytime

The car below had helped stop a tank by coming under it and was thus, put on display near the Eyup Sultan Mosque. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the story our Tour Guide, Dogan (the ‘g’ is silent), told us and I can’t seem to find it anywhere online but pretty cool, right?

The Formalities

One of the best parts about this trip was that it wasn’t planned at all; everything was spontaneous. We didn’t even plan to meet with a tour guide. Honestly, it was like we somehow ended up landing in Turkey and relied on google maps to give us the best experience possible and the funniest pronunciations.

How we Met our Tour Guide

Picture this: it’s another day in Turkey and my family and I are casually strolling on a street, wondering how we’re going to spend the day. Suddenly, a man, completely foreign to us, comes up and asks “Are you from Pakistan?” We were pretty surprised and it took a few seconds for us to reply with a confused “Yes.” The man was quick to impress us with his knowledge of Pakistan and this queer meeting gradually turned into a pleasant surprise as the man turned out to be a tour guide. Believe me when I say this, I’ve never followed a tour guide before, but I know for sure that the experience could not get any better than this.

The Tour

Cutting the story short, we ended up buying a tour package which would take us to: Eyup Sultan Mosque, Best Leather and Fur, Olivium Mall and a cruise over the Golden Horn. Our tour was scheduled for the 9th of January (the next day) and so, we woke up at 6 am, got ready, had breakfast at the hotel and at 8:30 am sharp, the tour buses were lined up outside our hotel. *Cue the excitement*

Eyup Sultan Mosque

I was pretty excited for this stop because of the religious (Islamic) significance attached to it. The tour bus took us to Pierre Loti hill, where I saw probably the biggest graveyard site in my life. We paused to look over the hill and found the Golden Horn spread out ahead while uncountable tombstones covered the hill below and around us. The mosque came in sight after a short walk/hike between divided areas of tombstones, which had been sectioned off for the scholars and judges etc.

Best Leather and Fur

We were then taken to this outlet where we were welcomed with a catwalk, which was pretty exciting because this was the first time I’d seen one live, and then we were given the time to do some shopping!

Olivium Mall

Let’s just say that LC Waikiki is the best shop that I could have ever come across; we definitely need that here (in Pakistan) once this corona virus outbreak calms down.

The Bosphorus and Golden Horn Cruise

There couldn’t have been a better wrap up of the day. I’ve been on many cruises before but none could be compared to the experience I had here. Mind you, it was freezing and I was seconds away from permanently freezing my hands every time I took them out of my gloves for the sake of taking pictures, but it was all worth it. On one side, we had Europe laid out in front of us and on the other, Asia; the views were breath-taking and the infrastructure that I saw was absolutely magical; from mosques to ruins of the Wall of Constantinople, everything seemed to have come straight out of a fairy tale.

Read the rest of the 2020 Trip to Turkey blog series

  1. Introduction
  2. Restaurants
  3. Tour Guide (you are here)
  4. Hotels
  5. Photography

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