After long trip of Istanbul-Bursa-Selcuk-Izmir-Istanbul in previous 42 hours (from Monday 6:20 AM until Wednesday 00:20 AM), Alif and I finally could sleep until 9:00 AM on that Wednesday morning – December 25, 2013. It was Christmas Day but apparently just another day in Turkiye, we didn’t see any Christmas theme decoration anywhere.
We left home at 12:12 PM when Adzan Zuhr was being announced from Sultanahmet Cami. We took tram to Eminonu, then after noon pray at Yeni Cami also bought burgers for lunch (16 TL) at Misir Carsisi, we crossed the street to the pier.
CRUISE ALONG BOSPHORUS STRAIT
The Bosphorus Tour by Bogaz Turu had hourly departure, only 12 TL per person instead of €15 as offered by travel agents at Sultanahmet. The upper deck was open space, good place to take pictures. The lower deck was covered space to enjoy the trip at warm place in winter. When we arrived back to Eminonu, 90 minutes later, Adzan Ashr was being announced from Yeni Cami.
From the pier, we wanted to get Bus 32 to Bayrampasa from the terminal right across Bogaz Turu Pier. Too bad that we missed 2:40 PM departure because I had not enough credit in my IstanbulKart and reloaded it at a kiosk nearby took a while due to ling queue.
The bus came late, we departed from Eminonu at 3:10 PM. Later it got fully crowded (luckily Alif and I had seats) and passed through heavy traffic jam in Fatih area, but still comfortable. No worry about missing our point to get off because there was LCD display about next stops.
FORUM ISTANBUL MALL: TURKUAZOO AND JURASSIC LAND
I decided to take bus because tram from Eminonu would require change to Metro to Bayrampasa (2 x 1.95 TL). But then I found that bus was a bad choice, took almost an hour to reach Bayrampasa Devlet Hast. plus 15 minutes walk before finally he and I arrived at Forum Istanbul Mall. With Metro M1, get off at Kocatepe would be only few meters away from the mall entrance gate.
It was 4:30 PM already when Alif and I finally entered Turkuazoo. Just 1.5 hours left before closing time at 6:00 PM, but enough time to explore the aquarium. Alif got new plush toys: Whale and saw shark.
At 6:25 PM, Alif and I entered Jurassic Land, entrance fee = 28 TL (adult) + 22 TL (child). It called itself as Turkiye’s First Theme Park. There was interesting museum and diorama about dinosaurs. After watched 4D movie (6 minutes) about adventure in land of dinosaurs, visitor would be guided through some chambers of process to bring dinosaurs alive again like they did in “Jurrasic Park” (Steven Spielberg, 1991).
COUCHSURFING WEEKLY MEETING
From Forum Istanbul, I took Alif to CouchSurfing weekly meeting at Taksim by Metro from Kocatepe to Aksaray then bus to Taksim (continued with Metro would require longer walk to Yusufpasa for tram and change funicular at Kabatas).
The theme was “Christmas”, then guests were asked to bring a gift (less than 10 TL) to be exchanged with each other. I brought something from Jawa and Bali, in return I got Persian phrasebook and a ceramic jar.
I left the even after one hour, arrived back at home at 10:50 PM. It should be only 30-40 minutes but we took 80 minutes from Taksim to Sultanahmet because my legs were in great pain then couldn’t walk fast enough.