Istanbul – The City in Two Continents

Bhosphorus Side
Photo credit: copyright

Istanbul is a beautiful city in Turkey. It lies on the Bosphorus Strait and stretches on both the European (Thrace) and Asian (Anatolia) side of this strait. It is the only city in the world that lies in two continents.

We visited Istanbul in October 2002. It was actually our first European trip. We applied directly at the Turkish Consulate in Dubai at The World Trade Center. The visa application was not a tedious process unlike the Schengen and US visa we have applied for in the past. We went in the morning to submit our documents and the interviewer only asked us one question. I forgot what the staff asked but I vividly recall what he said next. He told us to collect our passports the next day. That was it. We were given a week-long visa validity to enter Turkey.

We only stayed for 3 days and 2 nights and booked our accommodation in Madison Hotel in Istanbul. It is a 4-star property located in Taksim area close to Taksim Square, Topkapi Palace and other tourist attractions.

I got a good deal on the hotel because of my travel agent status then. My husband and I flew to Istanbul via Singapore Airlines (and I loved their service! The flight attendants made us feel very special even if we were in economy class) during the airline’s promotional travel deals. Since I was an assigned staff in the Singapore Airlines counter, our ticketing head office left a message to the tour operators in Istanbul to give me and my husband a free return airport transfer. The airline fare was also a steal because I only paid around US$160 for both of us and that was Dubai-Istanbul-Dubai! Talk about the perks of being a travel agent!

I’ll talk about the hotel and other places of interest on my other blog post later on. Meanwhile, here are some of the few photos we had in Istanbul. Unfortunately, we only had few snaps because our very unreliable digital camera had to malfunction during our trip.


Topkapi Palace, Istanbul


My hubby posing in Taksim Square near the tram track
  • Abby September 18, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    i left a note here the other day. maybe, it didn't went through again…

    any tips on getting a tourist visa to Canada?

  • Ria September 18, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    Thanks sis! I didn't get any comments yesterday. Sometimes, that's the problem with eh. I often leave comments to other blog sites but sometimes, when I complete the process, the message box just hangs. But don't worry, I think I've been receiving most of the comments you leave. And I am very thankful for that 🙂

  • Abby September 20, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    Ay naku sis, sinabi mo pa! while im typing this, its the second time. Nag-hang ulit then I need to use my blogger account to be able to post my comment to TB.

    Alam mo daming magagandang layout ngayon sa WP. Bagay sa travel blog mo. Wherein you can post pictures in a clean and precise layout featuring your trips abroad. It'll surely give Travel Bug a blast and more feeds! Ay, mangi-alam ba ang lola? hihihi!

    G-day to you sis,

  • Chubskulit Rose August 23, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    Wow sis, world traveler ka talaga. Looks like, Istanbul is one beautiful place to visit.

  • betchai August 23, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    you look great Ria, sorry about the digital camera malfunctioning in the middle of the trip, but glad it did not spoil your vacation.

  • MaryJane Tauyan August 23, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    the place looks very nice and cool to know about the information about the country that lies in two continents!

  • Ria Cervantes August 23, 2013 at 9:02 pm

    Blushing sis…. hindi naman. We're just blessed that hubby and I are both airline staff so we get travel perks like discounted airfares, discounts on hotels, etc. Otherwise, I'll have to break my back working to save up for our dream travels. Nagkataong mga gala talaga kami hahaha. Hanggang kaya namin mag-vacation elsewhere, sige lng. 🙂

  • Ria Cervantes August 23, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    Thanks sis Betchai. That was circa 2002, when I was still skinny and young hahahaha. It's good that some of the pictures I have managed to salvage from the broken cam. Otherwise, it would have been a vacation without any memorable photos. Just like what happened in our Kuala Lumpur trip. We used the same digital cam and there you go, we don't have any picture saved at all. 🙁 Bummer…

  • Ria Cervantes August 23, 2013 at 9:04 pm

    It's really interesting Mary Jane. 🙂 It's really a lovely place, whether you step in the European side or the Asian side. I will go back to this place again.

  • Ria Cervantes August 23, 2013 at 9:04 pm

    Thanks for your comments everyone. 🙂

  • San Josenyong Gala August 24, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    Istanbul! I am also actually curious about how it is being a country straddled between tow continents… Turkey must be a very historical country and Istanbul a historical city! How do you find their tourist spots?

  • papaleng August 24, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    So where is Istambul talaga, Asia or Europe? Kahit saan yan, all I know based on friends anecdotes is.. Istambul is a nice city where people daw are friendly.

  • Rcel August 24, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    That is so cool of you, sis Ria to have been to Istanbul! You know what, that is one of my dream destination! So rich in history and culture. And yes, it is a place mentioned in the Bible that is truly worth visiting! I hope someday I could. 😀

  • August 24, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    Darn, that digital camera had to malfunction on a trip. I usually bring an extra digicam when I travel. It's a lesson learned during my Bohol trip, our underwater camera leaked when we submerged it in Panglao beach, that was so unfortunate and we didn't have any extra camera that time. When you're on a trip, especially when you'll be going to a place just once in your life, bring extra camera, or at least have a good camera phone. =)

  • mtrguanlao August 24, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    What a clean place! Love your photos though you did not have more,hehe! But at least you still have a souvenir.

  • kulasa August 25, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    wow, the perks of being a travel agent 🙂 gee, in this lifetime I may only travel the world virtually I think and I have come to terms with that hahaha so I am always so glad to have friends like you who give me a tour every now and then 🙂 hmmm sorry about your camera that malfunctioned when you were there 🙂 but the experience is what matters and I am sure you saved a lot of happy memories in your heart when you were there 🙂

  • nova hedges August 25, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    Sis, you are so lucky to visit places to another. I wish i have the opportunity i could be into different places to enjoy different cultures. thanks for sharing .

  • Al Laid-Back Life in Ormond Beach August 25, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    Istanbul is a good place to visit, especially avid photographers. The architecture of the buildings there awe awesome!

  • Jean August 25, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    Actually Sis, I got familiarizes with Istanbul because of Ruffa Gutierrez and Anabel, hehe… Since Ruffa's ex husband came from that place. Well! Looking at your pictures proved that Istanbul is really a nice place. 🙂

  • lencilicious August 26, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    Oh 2002, our phones were not equipped with nice camera back then. Sayang. Anyway, still you got few beautiful shots. I didn't know the Turkish Consulate would only give one week. Is it possible to apply for longer validity of visa?

  • cheerful August 26, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    wow, you're so lucky and blessed to see Istanbul City, i love to see it someday. thanks for sharing more information about it, didn't know that it lies into two continents, that one is really interesting already, right?! 🙂 beautiful pictures and hopefully in the end, you still both had a great time. have a great week po. xx

  • Ria Cervantes December 13, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    thanks for all your lovely comments… next time, i'll bring a pro cam to capture all the wonderful memories…