While Istanbul is a lovely city filled with adventure at every turn, the Sea of Marmara is equally astounding. The sea surrounds the city and is home to several clusters of islands. Our destination for the day was the famous Princes’ Island known as Adalar in Turkish. A tourist destination for locals and tourists alike. After quick round of coffee and tea prepared the Turkish way, we started our day.
The ferry from Kadikoy Terminal took us across and it was an extremely scenic journey. It was not after 30 minutes through the ride that I realised how big Istanbul really was. From afar, the city seems to be going on and on!
The boat also had street peddler selling some pretzel like bread. It was the most uninteresting piece of bread but the locals enjoyed it.
But enjoying it more than the locals are the sea gulls that took every opportunity to scavenge fallen crumbs. The would follow the boat every way of the journey before occasionally settling the ocean for a break before surging back towards us again.
After about an hour and a half, we finally arrived at Princes Island. Out first pit stop? Lunch! Considering this is a tourist hot spot, the food prices here can be astronomical. Seafood is an obvious rip off. Very similar like Lantau Island in Hong Kong where every thing is double the norm. But within close proximity to the city centre is a restaurant called Kosem Restaurant. This restaurant is super popular and has a couple of branches across Istanbul. Also note that there is no service unless you order a fish dish. So grab a food tray at the food counter and pick whatever you wanted to eat. The food is rather affordable so do not hold back:
Kebab w/ Fries & Rice - This mediocre looking dish was definitely tired from the time it has spent sitting on the Doner machines. The meat from what I can remember was a little tough but in terms of seasoning it was OK. The surprising highlight on the plate was the rice that was very tasty! I think it had butter in it.
Beef Stew - The world simple might often be reinterpreted as boring, unenthusiastic and plain, yet there is an unsuspecting pleasantry in indulging in a stew that simple and tasty. This was one of those moments.
Shredded chicken with Chili and Cheese - This almost American dish caught our eyes and it was our pick. The flavoursome sauce was more tomato than chilli and had heaps of other slowly cooked vegetables in it. So wait, perhaps this is a Ratatouille Chicken? haha.
Mac n’ Cheese - Ok, at this stage maybe I was no longer in Istanbul. Perhaps I was taking a trip to America haha. But hey it was good and cheap, so what is there to complain about?!
The total bill for all of us probably settled around $30. Considering the restaurants right by the jetty were trying to charge us $30 for a seafood dish each, we were chuffed to be fed without having our pockets shredded. After finishing the meal, we ventured around the island. But as I cannot cycle like most people know, venturing far on foot was almost impossible. However, with the help of a certain creature I had no issues. I got myself, a Ferrari and it has 2 horsepower.
Up and down, through the hills of Princes Island was a nice sight. The beach-side villas on Prince Island were really rustic. Set on the terraces, some looked quite poorly maintained but I can imagine a lovely living space beyond the facade. Some though looked like they were own by an ex-dictator or some imprisoned cronies. Of everything, the nicest part of the trip would be the tree-line street throughout the island. It makes you feel forget that you are just an hour away from Istanbul, one of the most populated cities in the world. Its an isolation that I thoroughly enjoyed.
The ride would have been comfortable if not for the smell of manure floating round the cabin. This is caused by a poop-bag like mechanism between the horses and us! More interestingly, horses like birds have the ability the defecate while on the move. Not the most gracious of behaviours but these beasts were strong. However, I do wonder whether these rides are humane. Sure the horses did not struggle, but carrying passengers up and down the hill is no simple chore. While it was a great experience I am not so sure whether I would sit these horse carts again.
The ride home was fun. There were so much lesser people on the last boat and the sunset was amazing despite the chilly evening breeze.While I cannot understand the fuss, the purplish blue backdrop did accentuate the impressiveness of the lighthouse.