Princes’ Islands (Princess Islands?)

Saturday we were fortunate enough to have some mandatory time off to visit the Princes’ Islands together. The weather was maybe around 20-24 degrees Celsius, exact numbers aside, it was sunny and warm. Of the nine Princes’ Islands in the Marmara, our choice in island getaway was Büyükada, or “Big Island”, the last stop on the ferry from Kabatas.

As we had been told by many people before, the ferry was packed. Running youngins, hugging couples, and laughing groups of friends littered the inner and outer decks of the boat. We found seats and napped our hour and a half boat ride away.

Arrival was as hectic as the congested departure, but the experience of entering the ferry station was more enjoyable. The aesthetic reminded me of Besiktas. A collonaded space around the outside and a passageway through the middle. As soon as we emerged from the ferry station a woman was selling flower crowns, and those of us who had not purchased one yet, did.

Next stop, renting bikes. We were determined to find all day rentals for 10 TL because Cuong told us that is what he did when he visited the island. After asking about 4 places, we found the one. Bikes rented, we were on our way. The plan was to follow the coast of the island as much as we could. It led us through the neighborhood and up into peaceful, rocky hillside.

Juan, James, Andrea, and Sarah stopped on the way to climb up one of the giant hills. We didn’t see them the rest of the day.

Rachel, Keara, Satavee, Haydar, Nick, Sara, Fatemeh and I continued on the path in search of a beach. We never found one, but we did find a wild cow in the midst of a horse carriage version of the Taksim roundabout. It was a horse & buggy hub where many tourists and probably some locals were catching rides back to the main area of town. I fed a donkey an apple and headed on my way. We discovered shortly we had done a big circle and arrived back to the main part of town.

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Along the way back a couple of us noticed a purple tree/bush that had crawled over an entrance gate to a house. It was a really nice burst of color.

After we returned our bikes (it is useless to try and bike around the main town, too many pedestrians), we walked to find food. Eventually we settled on a place serving lahmacun and other Turkish ‘pizza’ type foods. It was tasty.

After food we meandered the streets, went through another horse hub, and made our way back to the ferry station where some of us parted ways. Satavee, Rachel, and Keara stayed to do some island shopping and the rest of us hopped on the ferry back. We were tuckered out.

On the boat, it was a bit less crowded, we each got seats indoors (it was fairly breezy on the water at this point and the sun was going down). There was a baby enjoying the Bosphorus with her dad. Adorablely fat cheeks, and all dressed in purple, I took some stalkerish photos of her, as seen below.

Overall the Prince’s Islands getaway was a good break from Istanbul. The exercise was needed, as was the fresh air and expansive views. The greenery was a plus, and the sun helped a lot too. It was a great way to nourish our somewhat vitamin D depleted bodies and slip away from the city life. I was happy to return to Istanbul though, and leave the tourist mobs behind – only to find a slightly higher amount of tourist mobs on Istiklal Caddesi a few days after our return. C’est la vie, Istanbul rocks regardless.

photos brought to you by Satavee & Haydar.

(my camera was dead)

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