The second morning we woke up well-rested and high in spirits. After breakfast when we got out of our hotel, the sun was shining bright and a light breeze was blowing. My baby was also very happy with this new routine, where she would see both her parents in the morning – I leave for work before she wakes up in the morning in routine life – and go out with them strolling aimlessly the whole day.
Today, we decided to use a different route to go to the Sultanahmet Square and this was a better one in terms of the inclined streets. On our way, we also stopped at a tour agency to explore our options and see if we can visit any other city as well. All the cities were a flight’s journey away which didn’t appeal us and we left the other cities for next time.
We were headed towards the Hagia Sophia, a Roman church turned into an Ottoman mosque and now a museum. Before we could reach the museum, my husband – who had spoken to a friend night before and was suggested that we take a bus tour of the city – found the Big Bus (a double decker) and we hopped on it for the tour. We decided to sit upstairs where the windows were open and the sun poured in. The tour comprised two bus trips of the city and a boat trip of the Bosphorus Strait and the ticket is valid for 24 hours, which means you have to avail all the services in 24 hours’ time.
This was my baby’s first bus ride and she was in awe of it. She enjoyed the wind and refused to put on a jacket, even though it suddenly became cold. The bus had two routes – Red and Blue – that were for two and one and a half hours, respectively. Both routes have different stops at famous spots. The traffic in Istanbul is worse; it took us at least 40 minutes to reach a stop of our interest which was Miniaturk. It is a park where you would find miniatures of all the attractions and major buildings of Istanbul. We checked it out from the top of the bus and as the baby was asleep, decided to remain on-board. My husband bought a few snacks from a small tuck shop outside the Miniaturk.
The bus then stopped at Rahmi Koc Museum which is a museum of history of transport, industry and communications. You will find old train engines, ships, cars, factories and forms of communications that were used back then. It was an interesting sight and the most fascinating thing was a couple who were to get married and had come to the museum for their photo shoot. Either a lot of Turkish were getting married during those days or it was just a coincidence but we kept running into many such occasions.
The museum had a couple of cafes by the shore of Golden Horn. There was a play area for the kids that had a carousel and small houses by Little Tikes. My baby loved it. There were other kids as well and none of them wanted to leave the carousel. So my husband and I took turns with her on it but when we decided to leave, she started crying. I liked how they thought about the kids and their entertainment. I bought a few souvenirs from the museum’s shop while my husband waited for the bus with the baby.
The bus took some time to come, making us double-minded as to whether we should wait for it or take a taxi. We decided to have lunch first and started walking towards the cafés which were five minutes away from the museum. While we were walking, my baby threw her hat on the road; I realized this after walking for another two minutes. My husband went to look for it when I saw the bus coming. As we were not at the bus stop, we had to make a run for it, so that the driver would notice us and not leave us behind.
We made it – no, the driver stopped the bus in the middle of the road for us. The baby was shrieking with pleasure. Everything was new to her.
We were making plans for the rest of the evening and the dinner when the bus stopped at its last stop and my husband got a whiff of fish. He is a big fan of seafood. And amid me telling him that it is because we are near the sea, he got off the bus with the baby. So I had to follow him. The driver informed us this was the last stop and the last bus as well.