Ho-Ho what? Shannon and I decided to take a double-decker tour of the city on one of our final days in town. We went with the company that had hop-on/hop-off stops, hence their terminology of “ho-ho stops”, and a night tour to the highest peak in the city to overlook the skyline. What started out as a relaxing adventure, ended up being a test of true human stamina. The temperatures dropped, the rain started blowing, and the seats inside the bus were all taken. All the while, the scenery was nice. Istanbul has built up and through the surrounding hills hugging the Bosphorous River on both the European and Asian sides. Once we made out to the suburbs to cross over to Asia, things seemed very much like they do in the states. Endless traffic jams. Single family homes. This somewhat caught me off guard but it seems that more than Americans are striving for this “dream”. The highlights of this tour for me are the Basilica Cistern and the night tour.
The final stop of the night tour is on the Asian side. We pulled into the parking lot of the highest peak in town which is dotted with local restaurants. Our tour group ducked into one to get out of the wind and cold rain. As soon as we set foot inside, the karaoke music began in hopes of the restaurant attracting us to stay. No thank you. We made our way out back to the decks overhanging the cliffs to see the views of the European side of Istanbul. Took pictures-check. Get inside to warm up-check. However, Shannon wanted to snap a couple of more pictures. However, all hell broke loose when she and I attempted to back out. We made it two steps and three waiters were yelling at us to get off of the deck as it is unstable and under repair. You would think that message would have come across loud and clear when you had the 50+ people from the tour group on the deck at one time. Get me out of this unstable, karaoke purgatory-check. We boarded the bus and made our way back to Taksim Square.
On the ride back, we struck up a conversation with two Auusies who have been traveling for the past five weeks and have two more to go. The have seriously convinced me to go to Australia in the near future. Thanks, mates!