"Istanbul - A place of contrasts" Istanbul by vichatherly
Istanbul Travel Guide: 7,829 reviews and 20,234 photos
It really is a clash of Europe versus Asia. It seems that the Turks are battling with having the age old problem of wealth and poverty in the same place. As you walk through Istanbul you can see the contrasts before your very eyes. You have the prosperity of the magnificent mosques and palaces which line the beautiful river Bosphorus and you have the hole, in the ground toilet facilities!
My most recent stay in Istanbul was a two night stay in September 2009. I was there for the UEFA Champions League Group game, Manchester United played Besiktas JK in the Ýnönü Stadium on 15 September 2009.
Another decent performance with United winning 1-0.
I had seen the city on other occasions but not for a few years. We flew into the new international airport on the Asian side of the city and reserved a minibus transfer to the hotel, which was in the Sultanahmet district. This was ideal for sightseeing as it was within walking distance of the St Sophia Museum and the Blue Mosque.
On this visit I also had chance to take a look around Taksim Square, as the stadium was not too far away.
My third trip to Istanbul was in October 1996. I went for the UEFA Champions League Group game, Manchester United played Fenerbache in the Fenerbahce Stadium on 16 October 1996.
United played well and won 2-0.
This trip was quite a peaceful one compared to the previous visits to Galatasaray and I even managed to get some sightseeing done. We spent a nice afternoon down in the Underground Bascilica Cistern (or Yerebatan Sarayi in Turkish).
My first visit to Istanbul was for the European Cup - 2nd Rnd, 2nd leg, Manchester United played Galatasaray in the Ali Sami Yen on 03 November 1993.
I didn’t actually manage to get to the stadium for the match, thanks to the police, but the score was 0-0, so United went out on away goals, having drawn 3-3 back at Old Trafford.
The trip was a bit of a nightmare to be fair as on the first night in the hotel I was woken up in the middle of the night at gun point by the police and then, along with all of the other residents of the hotel I was staying at, kept in a police station all day and the thrown out of the country in the evening!
The reason for the trip was to see the football match, but I only managed that when I got back to the UK and watched the video on TV.
I will eventually put the whole story, including all the correspondence with MP’s on the site in a travelogue
Went back for the second time the season after to Istanbul for the UEFA Champions League Group Game.
Manchester United played Galatasaray in the Ali Sami Yen on 28 September 1994, Score 0-0 again, but at least I got in the stadium this time.
We decided that the only safe way which would guarantee us gaining entry to the stadium, was if we went with the one day MUFC official trip. We had to travel up the night before from Kent to Manchester as the flight left early on the morning of the match from Manchester airport.
Everybody was a bit nervy for this trip as they had all been on or heard about our problems the year before.
After a quick meal and some belly dancing it was off for a cruise down the Bosphorus and then off to the stadium. This time we made it in and out of the stadium, not without some difficulty mind you.
Then, after the game had finished, we asked where our coach would be that was going to take us back to the airport. We were told “Don’t worry lads it’s the one behind the tank, you can’t miss it!”
- Pros:Kebabs were good
- Cons:Waking up to a machine gun, not so good
- In a nutshell:Why did the want to breathalyse me after a heavy night drinking? I wasn't driving?
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