Thursday, October 13, 2011

Istanbul - Ground Transportation & Currency

I'm realizing I didn't know much about Turkey until I started researching this trip. Their currency is the Turkish Lira which has a rather rich history. The internet says that the currency has changed a few times so we must be vigilant and refuse certain bills (ones with 6+ zeroes), as they are no longer valid. I've also learned that the Post Office is a great place to exchange money (for minimal commission) and if you use an ATM, make sure you go to a national bank. I have my new Chase Sapphire credit card so I hope I get to use it! I make it a point to "learn the currency" before I head somewhere completely foreign to me so that I don't get ripped off.

The airport (IST) is on the metro line so we can take it straight into the city. And getting around by metro, tram,  and funicular is cheap and easy (2 TL per token, which is about $1 USD, at least for today). And straight from wikitravel: we can buy a reload-able smart ticket (AKBIL) for a slight discount. Apparently nowadays, there are no humans to help you out when you buy tokens so you're at the mercy of the machines. We'll have to remember that "onay" means "approval."

I'm positive that we'll do a lot of walking so I estimate that we won't spend too much on ground transportation anyway.

Fun fact: The Netherlands are so known for tulips but did you know they were introduced to the bulbs by Turkey?

I've also downloaded an app on my iPad - Istanbul Travel Guide by Triposo - to get myself more familiar with the city.

Even though nothing has been set in stone (yet) I'm so eager and excited! I'm already looking up the must-have food and shopping. Yeep! I'm definitely going to buy myself some Turkish delights! (Flashback to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, anyone?)

Cheers!

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