My next adventure: Valletta (Malta) – May 2024

Day 2 (Istanbul) – Mosques and The Grand Bazaar

As I mentioned yesterday, today was about exploring the Fatih district which includes the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque and The Grand Bazaar but first, we had to conquer the Marmaray railway/metro. It is worth noting that the majority of the ticket machines only accept certain Lira notes (which are difficult to obtain from petrol stations as we have learnt), however, one or two do accept card, its just seeking the correct ones out. After that, lifts are in the appropriate places and said trains are perfectly flush with the platform making for a smooth roll around the system.

A few minutes walk from Sirkeci station is the gigantic Hagia Sophia. Akin to Florence, the structure seems more like a painting. When researching Istanbul, it stated that there was an accessible entrance, however, when we asked the staff the location, they simply said ‘not possible’ which either means that said staff couldn’t be bothered (likely!) or the entrance no longer exists…

Perhaps we would have more luck at The Blue Mosque…don’t be stupid! However, this time, there was a ramp sign informing you to use the side entrance. This entrance still possessed a small step akin to the Sousse Ribat (but higher) and took you into the courtyard which ramp signs ceased to exist and no ramps were to be seen after a circuit of the perimeter…

The last stop today was the Grand Bazaar which is around a 15 minute walk from these structures and it’s ACCESSIBLE! By this, one means that the inside market is mostly smooth (until you find an exit with a step!) making for an easyish roll. It has to be said that, if you are looking for a bargain, the outside portion is a better shout…

Istanbul is also home to a tram network which we took back to the relevant Marmaray station. As per the majority of modern tram systems, the vehicles are flush with the platforms which can be accessed via ramps.

Tomorrow, we either head out of Istanbul to the city of Izmit via the YHT high speed railway network or stay in the city and take the metro to the observation deck at the Istanbul Sapphire…decisions!!

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Day 3 (Istanbul) – Galata Tower and Basilica Cistern

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