When my friend went back to her university, I transferred to a hostel located near Karakoy. The location gave me closer access to Istiklal Avenue and the alleys close to Galata. Despite this perk, I only managed to take a stroll in this area once. Dubbed as the “Paris of the East”, Istiklal Avenue is home to many shops, boutiques, cafes and restaurants. One can also take the tram here that will go all the way to Taksim Square though the distance can be covered by foot in 20 minutes (depends on your pace).
Istiklal is excellent if you want many options but I do not really like the density of the crowd plus I’m broke so it is unlikely that I’ll be shopping. I prefer the alleys close to Galata Tower where one can buy souvenirs. I honestly cannot remember how I got there because I stumbled upon it when I got lost. This area has many colorful merchandise to choose from although it is not as crowded as the Grand Bazaar or Istiklal.
Galata Tower can easily be spotted due to its conical roof. Once used as tower for fire-spotting, Galata is also an excellent viewing point for Istanbul’s beautiful peninsula.
During the first week of my stay, we always take the ferry from Kadikoy going to Karakoy. The fact that we are travelling between two continents make me feel excited. During this ferry ride, the Maiden Tower is a landmark one always see. Unfortunately, I was only able to view it from afar. The tower has stood in this islet since the Byzantine period. Now, it has been converted to a restaurant where tourists can see panoramic views of the city.
This concludes my visit to Istanbul. My visit was cut short because of an unexpected snowstorm. It was my first time to see snow and I quite like it. Still, the snowstorm was terrible and I had to escape to Efes. Strangely, Efes was really sunny when I got there.