In December 2017, I had the chance to explore Isle of Skye, one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited.
I booked my tour using Rabbies in Edinburgh for around 200 GBP, and it was totally worth the experience. It was quite expensive, but since I am travelling by myself, guided tour is better for me. If you travel with your friend, you can rent a car and drive there. Afaik, you can use driving license from your home country in UK for 6 months. It is also better if the one that rent is at least 25 years old since it means cheaper rental fee (I think it is related with insurance or something).
Now, whenever I take a look at the pictures I get from the trip, I always find myself smiling because of the happy days.
I’ve finished reading Murakami’s Norwegian Wood few months ago, but I feel that some of quotes in his book are very relatable with life in general. Maybe, that’s the reason why it is so popular. This are my favorite :
Death exists, not as the opposite but as part of life
If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking
Everything was too sharp and clear, so that I could never tell where to start- the way a map that shows too much can sometimes be useless
If you need me, use me. Don’t you see? Why do you have to be so rigid? Relax, let down your guard. You’re all tensed up so you always expect the worst. Relax your body and the rest of you will lighten up
What’s the point of saying that to me? If I relaxed my body now, I’d fall apart. I’ve always live like this, and it’s the only way I know how to go on living. If I relaxed for a second, I’d never find my way back. I’d go to pieces and the pieces could be blown away
Why can’t you see that? How could you talk about watching over me if you can’t see that?
I saw these paradoxical qualities of his from the start and I could never understand why they weren’t just as obvious to everyone else. He lived in his own special hell.
When you’re surrounded by endless possibilities, one of the hardest things you can do is pass them up. How can you ignore it? You have a certain ability and the opportunity to use it: can you keep your mouth shut and let it pass?
Try not to get so worked up about things. Whatever happened – or didn’t happen – the end result would have been the same.
Nobody likes being alone that much. I don’t go out of my way to make friends, that’s all. It just leads to disappointment.
If I am going to test myself, I want to do it in the biggest field there is – the nation. I want to see how high I can climb, how much power I can exercise in this insanely huge bureaucratic system.
You’re very clear about what you like and what you don’t like. You make it obvious you don’t care whether people like you or not. That makes some people angry.
“What happens when people open their hearts?” “They get better.”
Its because I hated the place so much. I wasn’t going to let it beat me. If I’d let it get to me once I’d be finished. I was scared I’d just keep slipping down and down
Never sure where I was, never sure I was headed in the right direction, knowing only that I had to keep moving, one step at a time.
This was nothing new for me. Whenever I get involved in something, I shut out everything else.
“Don’t feel sorry for yourself. Only arseholes do that.” “I’ll keep it in mind”. We shook hands and went our separate ways, he to his new world and I back to my swamp.
Do you find something that you like from the list above?
This is a story from a book that I am currently reading.
There was once a businessman who was sitting by the beach in a small Brazilian village. As he sat, he saw a Brazilian fisherman rowing a small boat toward the shore having caught quite a few big fish. The businessman was impressed and asked thefisherman, “How long does it take you to catch so many fish?” The fisherman replied, “Oh, just a short while.”
“Then why don’t you stay longer at sea and catch even more?” The businessman was astonished. “This is enough to feed my whole family,” the fisherman said. The businessman then asked, “So, what do you do for the rest of the day?” The fisherman replied, “Well, I usually wake up early in the morning, go out to sea and catch a few fish, then go back and play with my kids. In the afternoon, I take a nap with my wife, and [when] evening comes, I join my buddies in the village for a drink—we play guitar, sing and dance throughout the night.”
The businessman offered a suggestion to the fisherman. “I am a PhD in business management. I could help you to become a more successful person. From now on, you should spend more time at sea and try to catch as many fish as possible. When you have saved enough money, you could buy a bigger boat and catch even more fish. Soon you will be able to afford to buy more boats, set up your own company, your own production plant for canned food and distribution network. By then, you will have moved out of this village and to São Paulo, where you can set up an HQ to manage your other branches.”
The fisherman continues, “And after that?” The businessman laughs heartily. “After that, you can live like a king in your own house, and when the time is right, you can go public and float your shares in the Stock Exchange, and you will be rich.” The fisherman asks, “And after that?” The businessman says, “After that, you can finally retire, you can move to a house by the fishing village, wake up early in the morning, catch a few fish, then return home to play with [your] kids, have a nice afternoon nap with your wife, and when evening comes, you can join your buddies for a drink, play the guitar, sing and dance throughout the night!” The fisherman was puzzled. “Isn’t that what I am doing now?”
Source : Paul Dolan. Happiness by Design: Change What You Do, Not How You Think. Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.
Istanbul is one of my favorite place to travel, especially because Turkey’s meatball is so delicious (I think it is one of the best food in the world!). Compared to Europe, this place is also not so expensive in terms of accommodation and food. Last year, I spent 5 days in Istanbul, since I just finished my exam and want to do super chilled travelling. In my normal pace, maybe 3 days will be enough to explore the city.
Visa to Turkey
You can apply for e-visa for Turkey. Everything is online, you don’t need to go to any office and you can receive the visa immediately. You can access the e-visa application here.
How to Travel to Istanbul
I came from Budapest, and there are two direct airlines with route Budapest-Istanbul, Pegasus and Turkish Airlines. I chose Pegasus since it was so much cheaper (like 100 euro difference at that time) and it only 2 hours flight. The difference between Pegasus and Turkish is the airport in Istanbul. Using Pegasus, I landed in SAW Istanbul Sabiha Airport instead of Istanbul Atatürk Airport (now, they move Turkish Airlines to Istanbul Airport).
It took around 1.5 – 2 hours from the airport, longer time than from Atatürk. But don’t worry, the transportation in Turkey is nice and just by asking around, they can help you. I don’t use any packet data when I was there and I survived.
To use bus/tram in Turkey, there is Istanbul transportation card available outside the airport. You can buy it from machine, but they only accept cash, so make sure you bring Lyra or withdraw it from ATM inside the airport (afaik, there is no ATM outside the airport, so I need to go back to airport to withdraw my money). I top up with 30 Lyra and it can last me until the end of my trip.
Where to Stay
I stayed at a hostel in Sultanahmet area. The most popular place to stay is Sultanahmet or Taksim Square area, however I choose Sultanahmet since it is has tram stop and also walking distance to Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace and Sultan Ahmed Mosque.
I have 4-bed female dormitory room and it cost me around 10 euro per nights with breakfast. They served Turkish tea, eggs, bread, cheese, fruits and salads for the breakfast. With only 10 euro, I think it was really worth the money. It was in December and low season, so I shared the room only with one girl and for the last 3 days, I have the room for myself.
Where to Eat
I tried several places, but the one that I recommend is Tarini Sultanahmet Koftecisi Selim Usta, located near to Sultanahmet stop. The grilled meatball are just really delicious, and for Asian, don’t worry, they have rice too.
What to See
Since in this trip I was in relaxation mode, I visited (of course) the mainstream location such as
For you who watch Inferno, there is a scene where the villain wants to spread the disease through underground water system, and yes, that’s Basilika Cistern. I am in awe of its structure and the fact that they can build it underground. There is also Medusa statues on the two of its pillar with weird position (upside down and sideways). The myth has it that Medusa turn the people who look at her into stone, those the weird position is to prevent that thing from happening. However, logically, people think that the Medusa head were placed there to support the structure.
I personally think that this place is one of my favorite in Turkey. Although it is not as big as I expected, but I rarely see this kind of structure underground, especially with water underneath. However, it is not included in Istanbul museum pass, so you need to pay it separately.
The Istanbul Museum Pass covers other placese such as Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Harem, Chora Church, Istanbul Archaeological Museums, etc. It cost around 30 euro for 5 days after first use. I bought the ticket in front of Topkapi Palace and I think it is good value since I can skip the queue to buy ticket for each place after that.
Known also as Ayasofya or Sancta Sophia or Church of the Holy Wisdom, it displays the meeting of Islam (central mihrab, direction of Mecca) and Christian religions (Virgin Mary and Christ with John the Baptist). You can walk here from Sultanahmet stop, in my case I just need 10 minutes walk from my hostel.
I think, Topkapi palace is the biggest place that I’ve visited in Istanbul. I love their “kitchen” section, and they also provide nice and (imho) complete information. I really like the fact that they can provide “complete” facts such as how many lambs they need to order for the entire kitchen, what is the food for king or for other family members.
Sultan Ahmed Mosque
Also known as Blue Mosque, because of blue tiles surrounding the walls of interior design. If you are muslim, you can pray here too. It will be closed during prayer time, so of you just want to see inside, better to not come during prayer time, especially midday Friday prayer.
Men should wear long trousers, while women should cover their hair, arms and their legs from knees up. Before go to the mosque, you should put your shoes in plastic bags (free of charge) provided at the entrance. There is also a room where you can ask more about Islam if you are interested to know more about the religion.
Galata Mevlevi House
If you want to understand and learn more about Sufi’s way of life, their history and tradition, this place is right for you. I enjoyed the time I spent there, especially since I have read about Sufi especially Jalaluddin Rumi from my father’s book collection. I remember when I was a child, I got confused with his concept about God-human relationship, especially through one of his poem. However, now I kinda find that he has interesting point of view.
Don‘t think that saying “I am God”
is proclaiming one‘s greatness.
It is actually total humility.
Some one who says,
“I am the servant of God”
infers two – God and himself –
whereas someone who says,
“I am God”, negates himself.
He relinquishes his own existence.
“I am God” means
“I don‘t exist.
Everything is God.
Only God exists. I am nothing.
I am utter emptiness”.
Market (Spice Bazaar and Grand Bazaar)
I love both of the market and although I am not buying anything except Turkish snacks, I really like spending my time there. They have lots of collection from lamp (genie lamp!), kitchen utensils, clothes, or gold. I especially love the spices section and the various tea that they have.
I also visited other places such as Chora museum, Galata Kulesi and Taksim Square but not really spent much time there. If you only have limited time in Istanbul, I would definitely recommend you to go to Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace and Basilica Cistern. Have extra time? Then Sultan Ahmed Mosque and the market place can also be added on your list.
I think that’s all what I can share from my trip. If you have any questions, just drop me a message. Hope you have nice trip!
No matter how long you have lived, how old you are, the way you spend your time depends on you. The way you optimise or waste your time, depends on you.
Maybe you have 30 minutes meeting that more efficient than 2 hours meeting in another building with the same purpose.
Maybe now, you have 2 hours reading that give you more knowledge than 100 hours you spent before.
Maybe you spend your last 2 hours meaninglessly scrolling social media, while you can use it to do things that matter to you.
We all have 24 hours a day, but the way we use it will reflect a lot on our current state now. I’ve seen people with younger age than me that achieved more. I’ve noticed 20-something people that wiser, more knowledgeable and more mature than another 30 or 40-something people.
Be careful, that your 20-something age now might not be better than yourself in the last year. So, make sure you use your time wisely.