Princes Islands

Princes Islands

The arrival of the weekend in Istanbul is our cue to escape the city to avoid the crowds. So we saved our trip to Princes Islands for today. Princes Islands, an archipelago off Istanbul in the Sea of Marmara, so named because this is where the princes were exiled to during the Byzantine time, and later, the royal family during the Ottoman time.

First things first, before catching the 9:45AM ferry, we needed to get money from the ATM, and top off our IstanbulKart.

We always get a kick out of seeing this message, because we’re kind of juvenile.

The upside to starting the day early is being able to do touristy stuff when no one is around.

The Iskatlal tram, when stopped, is constantly surrounded throughout the day by people taking pictures while posing next to, on, and in front of it.

An easy walk downhill brought us to the Turyol, a private ferry company, terminal in Karaköy.

A one way ticket is 10TL ($1.30) each. This got me thinking, this is a perfectly economical way for people who love boat rides (like dad) to go “sailing” without needing to own a private yacht.

The boat makes stops at 3 different islands. After an hour and a half ride, we got off at the last island, Büyükada (AKA the big island).

There are no diesel or gas vehicles on the islands. Locals travel in tiny electric tricycles, bikes, and cute little electric buses.

Electric tricycles parked on the sides
With the lack of vehicular traffic, dogs own the roads. One of the tricycles had to dodge the black dog sleeping on the road.
Bus depot
People lined up for the bus
We had the option to rent bikes (15TL for the day) but Joe opted to hoof it.

But not before we got some food in us first.

Hoofing it has its downside – not being able to cover as much ground, and upside – being able to appreciate the details of your surroundings.

For example, had we biked, I would not have been able to take a picture of this cat with tufted ears.
Or its close up

We started off track, but eventually linked up with everyone else. Along the main road we got to appreciate some of the Victorian era homes.

After an hour and a half of walking, we turned back (never made it up to the Aya Yorgi Church at the top of the hill) because someone started having stomach rumblings (another false alarm), and ended up at a cafe with a view.

This early afternoon Turkish coffee habit of mine is becoming a ritual by now

On the way to the dock, we got a chance to try lokma, fried dough that tastes like zeppole.

So good, yet so bad
They also have kumpir on the island. Check out all the toppings people can put on their potato.

The 3PM ferry got us back in the city by 4:30PM.

Some shots along the way…

One of the smaller islands
The underside of seagulls
The result of not drinking coffee
Old Town

Total for the day – $20, and a peaceful & quiet Saturday – priceless.

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