Istanbul - Last day...

My last day in Istanbul was Sunday. Fortunately I had already packed most of my things on Saturday (to see how much free space there was left in the suitcase...) so I finished that quickly.

I had made no plans and decided to just go with the flow. Since the sun was out again I walked around the area, climbed some terraces and went to the top foor of a big hotel to take tourist pictures - one of them is a panorama of the epic construction site on Taksim square:

All the big shops on Istiklal caddesi are open on Sunday - but once I have packed my luggage, the thought of having to carry even more weight successfully prevents me from buying more.

I saw a political group gathering with flags and transparents - getting ready for another demonstration as they are so popular here.

A bit further down the road the police had stationned several big cars, and a bunch of very handsome policemen were standing around. And there were not only men in full body armour with machine guns but also some young women!

I went to a restaurant on the opposite side of the street where I had a great view on the entire spectacle from my table on the first floor.

Of all the demonstrations that I have witnessed here overe the years there was never one that went out of hand. And this one was no different. Most of the pedestrians walking up and down the streets just ignored the protestants and the heavy police presence probably prevented any outbreak of violence. At one point the demonstrants picked up their stuff, started to walk up the streets and slowly dissapeared from my sight.

On my way back I stopped at the Greek consulate where they had an art exhibition with a big blue, transparent installation that represented the mediterranean sea. The artist was there too and we chatted for a moment.

Then I picked up my luggage from the hotel - and sure enough as I came to the main street there was another demonstration going on. It seemed as if a feminist group did not approve of something to do with the Demirören mall because that's where they were standing, shouting and blocking my way.

But I sneaked around them and reached the airport bus well in time.

Bigger shops will give you a tax refund form that you can cash in at the airport. Only do this if you really have a big amount - unfortunately costume shops don't do them...
You have to stand in line to get a stamp on the form and then go to a different counter on the other end of the departure hall to get the money. For only 25 Lira that I got in the end it seemed like too much of a hassle - and it takes quite some time too!

I had an uneventful flight home. Fortunately my boyfriend came to the airport so I didn't have to carry my heavy luggage on a train!

Now I only have to deal with the usual chaos of an unpacked suitcase!