We left home early, 8:30 AM. Our first destination was Blue Mosque but it didn’t open for visitors until 1:30 PM for weekly cleaning and major congregation (Friday pray or Shalat Jum’at). Therefore, Alif and I visited Aya Sofia across the misque.
We entered Aya Sofia as first visitors, 9:00 AM. Entrance ticket = 25 TL (adult), child under 8 years old = free. Highly recommended to come earlu otherwise the museum would be very crowded.
I admired the architectural design and decoration of that building which previously a church turned to mosque before later declared as museum. We stayed there, walked around and up to second floor, until 10:30 AM.
Our next destination was Basilica Cistern across the street from Aya Sofia. Entrance ticket = 10 TL, child under 8 years old = free. We were there until 12:00 PM, looked around two Medusa columns, and made a pose in Turkish royal costumes (one print = 14 TL, one print plus one CD contained all pictures = 55 TL).
FAILED ATTEMPT TO GO TO ISTANBUL AQUARIUM
Alif and I went home for quick lunch and hot tea until 12:55 PM.
We wanted to go to Istanbul Aquarium, recorded as world’s biggest aquarium. From internet, I read that free shuttle bus would be provided at Hippodrome near German Fountain, 1:15 PM departure. But the shuttle bus didn’t exist anymore.
Alternatively, we were supposed to be able to go to Istanbul Aquarium by Bus BN1 or BN2 from Eminonu. But when we arrived there, those buses also didn’t exist anymore.
Tired of searching for transport to Istanbul Aquarium, then I decided to take Bus 74A to Sisli Merkez. Alif wanted to go Cevahir Mall for Atlantis and Toyzz Shop.
CEVAHIR MALL: EUROPE’S BIGGEST MALL
Although not literary written anywhere in this “Muslim country”, the spirit of Christmas could be feel in this Europe’s biggest mall (but still smaller than Kelapa Gading Mall, Jakarta – Indonesia, anyway). There was solo pianist sung some songs beautifully near the Christmas tree.
Atlantis was a massive 4-stories game center, unlike what we’ve seen anywhere before, complete with bowling alleys, roller coaster, 4D interractive cinema etc. The game card.was expensive for me. Balance = 25 credits (20 TL) was only to try Transformer simulation (5 credits), roller coaster (7 credits), ghost house (5 credits), 4D interractive cinema (8 credits).
We had dinner at Popeyes, 5th floor, at 5:30 PM. The menu was Maxi Dip (13.25 TL), big enough for two of us.
After dinner, we went to Smiki toystore at 2nd floor but left half one hour later without buying anything because Alif didn’t find any toy that he liked.
We went back to 5th floor after found out that Toyzz Shop was actually at the same floor with Popeyes where we had dinner earlier.
At Toyzz Shop, Alif purchased a set of Nerf’s bow and arrow. We left the mall at 7:50 PM, arrived home one hour later.