Saturday, April 26, 2014

Istanbul 2014 - Glance through visited places

In September 2013, I have recorded my first trip to Istanbul in November 2004. I have hinted that I would returned 1 day, check the post "Turkey Istanbul 2004" to get some of the clues. At the time of writing, i.e. on 17th September 2013, we have booked and confirmed the flight and brief itinerary as part of my ambitions taking "Train Rides by the Globes". 10 years later, on 4th April 2014, I have landed in Istanbul Ataturk airport for the second time. 10 years ago was with the travel group following travel agent and their fixed itinerary but 2014 was more meaningful as Anne and I has prepared our own itinerary following our convenience. My sister Rosnani has gone through a lot in her life after the passing of her late husband and new life with a new husband. She was the reason that we invited another sister to come along. We travelled in 2 pairs.

Back to the tour, in brief, we have covered the following attractions in Istanbul during 4 days 3 nights in Istanbul:-

Day 2 - New Mosque, Spice Bazaar, Suleymaniye Mosque and Fatih Mosque.

New Mosque which is so nearby to our hotel, seated next to Spice Bazaar

Spice Bazaar, you must not miss coming to this place as the experience trying the above tea was priceless

Suleymaniye Mosque, the courtyard - in here, you may feel the great influence of Emperor Suleyman, the story that in my opinion similar to the story of Prophet Sulaiman, great man indeed

Fatih Mosque, I came all the way to recite Yaasin for him, especially for myself for Allah to ease the loads of my sin. Maybe when its time for me to see the Creator, I would not be so embarrassed with too much sins that I committed during 47 years of my life in this world

Day 3 - Hippodrome, Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Yerebetan Cistern of Medusa, Topkapi Palace, Gulhane Park and watching beautiful Sufi Whirling dance at Hodjapasha Cultural Centre.

My lovely sister Rosnani, passing the sad chapter of her life given a sweet smile next to the Egyptian Obelisk @ Hippodrome

Blue Mosque snapped using Tiger Eyes lens 

Hagia Sofia seated across Blue Mosque, we tasted Turkish coffee and tea (chai) once we gets in - it was a heavenly experienced (wait for full story later)

Short queue to see Medusa head beneath the road. Yerebatan Sarnici was actually hidden from naked eyes but it's location is actually across Blue Mosque/Hagia Sophia @ within walking distance

Long queue in Topkapi Palace but the lunch inside was tastier and worth for money

Tulips festival in the whole Istanbul City but to smell the sweet Lavenders from distance while entering this heaven on earth Gulhane Park was God sent gifts

Day 4 @ the last day - Grand Bazaar, Cruise on Bosphorus sea, Galata Tower and a must visit place when in Istanbul, Istiklal Caddesi famously known as Taksim Square.

The famous Grand Bazaar, was wishing that Hubby could be with me to choose and buy lamps for our new house, Sigh!

It was damn cold with strong cold breeze to appreciate a lovely cities on both sides of Turkey, Europe and Asia. It was my second experience taking the cruise along Bosphorus/Marmara. I am so blessed with what Allah has given me, Alhamdulillah

We wisely spent our time in Galata Tower, worth every money that we paid to go up the tower as we have gone up to the top using lift, having coffee and Pudding Rice, ended with prayer and freshened up up there on the oldest tower of the world

Beautiful afternoon weather at Taksim Square 

I will write in details each of these places for my personal reference and because I cant resist but sharing those lovely photos snapped by me and my best friend, Anne who travelled with her new Digital DSLR camera, Nikon D3200.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

8 bracelets from the 8 cities

I'm still drowsing from a jet lag as we were just landed this morning from our 16 days travel. Had a quick nap of almost 3 hours but still feeling drowsy. Before I go back to bed, I was thinking to share in this entry a bracelet that I collected from all 8 cities that we have covered in the second leg of the "Train Rides". This is merely a teaser. Once I have some times left between works, studies and mother/wife duties, I will write more in details each part of the 8 cities and 8 countries covered in a long trip from 4th till 19th April 2014. I promise.

From Istanbul city (Turkey)

From Bucharest city (Romania)

From Budapest city (Hungary)

From Vienna city (Austria)

From Salzburg city (Austria)

From Munich city (Germany)

From London city (UK)

From the city of loves & lights, Paris

Friday, April 4, 2014

Flight to Doha

Group Photo
We checked in quite early as we did it within 36 hours allowable time through online check-in on Thursday mirning. With the boarding passes safe in hand, I left house a bit late than others, i.e. at 2250hrs. My sisters and her entourage left at 2000 hours, whilst Anne took a cab from her house at 2030hours. When I reached the airport they were waiting for me to drop in our luggage. 

Entourage at Secrete Recipe KLIA
While waiting for the counter to open, we had drink at Secret Recipe, a large group of us. At 1am the counter was opened. After we have done with the ticketing counter we lingered a while at Secret Recipe. Thereafter we proceeded to the gate, had our farewell and headed to the imigration check point, took train to gate 15 and rest a while. The boarding gate was open sharp at 2.30am. I'm writing this while queue to get in.

I wish to share some photos when I still had a full internet access. The security checked was very thorough arising recent incident of MH370. I shall stop for now. Hope to blog again soon. Bye ✈️

I know, I need to work out my tummy :( with hubby and nazhif

Close to 1am in the morning

Qatar Airways stewardess

Tight security checks

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The itinerary of Train Rides - 2nd Leg, Europe

On 7th of August 2013, Anne and I hugged each other after we took the first step necessary for our 2nd leg of the train rides. The first leg was on 24th May 2013 from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok. After much planning and deliberation, the first step of booking and getting flight confirmation was indeed an important mark to our big plan. We were indeed very happy as we decided to split the train journey between Asia & Europe to make it more fun. From our detailed plan, I would be celebrating my 50th birthday from the last route of Trans-Siberia, 2.5 years from now. 

For the 2nd leg, we have planned the itinerary well as follows:-

4th April 2014 : Kuala Lumpur to Doha to Istanbul via Qatar Airways
7th April 2014 : Istanbul to Bucharest via Bosfor sleeper train
9th April 2014 : Bucharest to Budapest via Ister sleeper train
11th April 2014 : Budapest to Vienna via Railjet train
12th April 2014 : Vienna to Salzburg via locals train
13th April 2014 : Salzburg to Munich via late evening train
14th April 2014 : Munich to Paris via sleeper night train
19th April 2014 : Paris to London (day trip) via Eurorails
20th April 2014 : Paris to Doha to Kuala Lumpur via Qatar Airways

After a long waits of 9 months from the date that our flight was booked and confirmed, our trip is coming nearer. We will be flying tomorrow (morning flight on Friday, the 4th of April 2014). The trip-it has send a reminder for me to pack last night "your trip to Istanbul, Turkey is starting soon". For those who has not join the tripit yet, may do so as it was great how they were preparing a detailed itinerary triggered from the online booking (airline, train & hotels) automatically for me. You may check mine in, Tripit Itinerary. To be honest, packing was a challenging task though I started much earlier this time. We kept a check list what to bring including food stuff in case of emergency and probability of not able to find a Muslim foods, the lists are indeed becoming very long.

My sisters (the elder and the younger ones) shall be tagging along as they wanted to see so much the city of the late Sultan Mehmet Fatih, the famous Muslim conqueror who succeed in conquering Constantinople as predicted centuries before by our prophet Muhammad s.a.w. I'm sharing the late "Biography of Sultan Mehmed Fatih" website for those whom interested to know more about him. It was like a trip to kill a bird with few stones. I hope you still remember how I was saddened by the lost of Istanbul's photo as per September 2013 entry Turkey tour in 2004-Istanbul City. Now, after 10 years, I will be able to have lots and lots of photo in Istanbul alone as we will be there for 4 days 3 nights.

For those who's interested to tour, may check places that I visited 10 years ago in 7 cities in Turkey-2004. Cheers!

We have airline ticket, train tickets (up to certain parts only) & paris pass