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Posted by on Jun 12, 2013 in Countries, Turkey | 0 comments

Vegan backpacking in Istanbul, Turkey

Vegan backpacking in Istanbul, Turkey

I managed to get a 23 hour layover in turkey, which allowed me visit the city at no extra cost as far as flying is involved. Turkish Airways offer that possibility, and since the will to see the world so intense, but my bank account so small, this is a great way to have a free perk!

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Turkey was all more or less settled down. I’d have a shuttle bus picking me up from the airport, as I’d be arriving late at night so the shuttle bus was an excellent option to get to my hostel.

All was good, till I landed and… there was no one to pick me up!

I walked up and down the isle, where taxis and other bus companies had a person holding a banner or a paper displaying a name. Mine was not in any of them!

It was late and I started to get stressed as I had booked the shuttle bus exactly to avoid this type of problems. My bag was send straight to Bangkok by accident, and my hostel information was there, which was not really a problem, I could check that info online.

This situation stressful and the only way out would be by teaming up with someone to get out of the airport. The taxis there were more expensive than I ever expected so… I targeted a group of young Brazilian backpackers and asked them if they wanted to share a cab.

They replied they were planning on taking the Tram and metro, so I gladly joined the team to the city center. But before that, I still had to figure out how to find my hostel.

While the Brazilians waited for me, I went up to an internet café and got all the info I needed to get to my hostel.

The Tram is located right at the edge of the airport, very easy to find. We had a little adventure trying to figure out the token machines, which turned out to be funnier than expected and the Brazilians were seriously amused by the little black tokens you insert in the machines.

We got out of the tram and searched for the metro… where was the metro??

The metro was a short ride, I said bye-bye to the group and headed out to…. The unknown.

I had to approach a few guys, searching for the street, but most of them had no idea. Everything felt so intimidating at that moment, being lost past midnight at a strange city and alone, but people were gentle enough to show me which direction I should take.

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Finally safe and sound, there were 2 other girls who were going to be my roommates for the night. A German who talked non stop and a friendly Korean who was into couchsurfing.

Next day was time to explore Istanbul, the mosques and the food!

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Turkey is famous for its kebabs and lamb dishes, so I was a bit scared about what I could possibly find there, but… I was surprised!

Turkey has actually an amazing variety of vegetarian dishes, from stuffed peppers and tomatoes, to soups, stews and baked eggplants… not mentioning the turkeys delights, sweets for all tastes! Turkish food is so fresh!

 

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The blue mosque, Agya Sofia and the few other monuments were absolutely amazing!

 

Pretzel vendors in Istanbul

Pretzel vendors in Istanbul

 

Corn vendors

Corn vendors

 

I didn’t enter any of them, as I was sick and had only a few hours to walk around the city, but I have to say, Istanbul is gorgeous!

But I still had fever and it was really cold. So I decided to go back to the hostel, make some tea and relax till I take my flight to Bangkok.
I had checked out already but it was ok to hang out at the hostel, use the internet and the kitchen.
This hotel is actually nice, clean, and very central. I will probably go back there, on my return home. Cordial guest house attracts a young crown, but it’s cheap and decent enough.

On my way to the tram, I saw this amazing restaurant with tons of veggies and since I had such a long trip ahead of me, I decided to enter.

A Turkish lady preparing lunch

A Turkish lady preparing lunch

 

The food was delicious and the staff was friendly. They were very curious to find out why I take photos of the food, and were thrilled to pose for a photo for my vegan travel guide in Portuguese.

 

The restaurant crew in Istanbul

The restaurant crew in Istanbul

 

The return was again a bit stressful, somehow I exited one stop earlier and couldn’t find my away around the tram stations anymore, somehow I couldn’t recognize the area.

So I was asking around till I found the metropolitan and went straight to the airport, people were always incredibly helpful. It really is a great city and I’m glad to get 48 hours on my return home. It will be spring and I’m sure Istanbul will be blooming and full of life!

It’s time to catch my flight now. Bangkok, here I GO!!!!

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