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4.21.2015

TBF in Turkey: Büyükada, or Going Back in Time

Boston Travel Blog
Walking towards the ferry station
Boston travel blogger
Mr. TBF strolling through town
what to do in buyukada
Looking back towards Istanbul
boston travel blogger, boston fashion blogger
There has to be some sort of Dr. Who reference here...
buyukada island
Mists around the island
phaetons in buyukada
Bicycles and phaetons are the way to get around
turkish cats, istanbul cats, buyukada cats
Locals are never without treats or a kind word for the cats that roam the island
There was a stillness creeping from the ferry dock into the streets. Even though it was late Saturday night, the town was silent, save for a cat darting across the road, or the occasional hedgehog quietly rooting through the dirt. Our footsteps echoed as we headed away from the already faint sound of laughter at the only lit shop; bottle of wine in hand, we were returning to the hotel for a nightcap with friends. The fog lazily drifted off the water, enveloping the town in a cool, heavy haze. A noise startled us to attention - the clipped sound of someone rapidly approaching. Abruptly, a lone horse came into view; trotting through the street, unencumbered by bridle, saddle or any restraint or rider. As it passed, it turned to look right at us with deep, horse eyes. For a moment, all sound and senses were silent, save the feeling of  magical, animal connection on a shadowy, foreign street. Then, the horse tossed its head, whinnied, and trotted off into the mist. 

Only in Büyükada.

The largest of the Princes' Islands, Büyükada is only two square miles of land off the Asian side of Istanbul. A former home to Byzantine Empresses and Leon Trotsky alike, the real magic of the island is its quiet bustle. No automobiles are allowed; horse-drawn carriages (called phaetons), bicycles and feet are the primary means of transportation. In the summer, the island is popular with the beach crowd; beach clubs dot the coast. But in March the town is quiet, allowing visitors any number of open cafe seats at which to sit and enjoy a tea and hookah. Feral cats roam free, but the locals seem far from annoyed. Everywhere we look, grown men are hand-feeding treats to the multi-colored felines, patting them gently on the head. 

Where to Stay: Ada Palas Hotel is a lovely, twelve room hotel in a restored mansion. Enjoy a fine breakfast in their picturesque garden, and bathe in the beaming sunlight that drips through the oversized windows. Ada Palas Butik Hotel, rates: US$75-$125/night

What to Do: Be sure to book a phaeton for a tour of the island! The hotel can set you up with a driver, or you can easily pick one up on the street. Plan some time to sit and lounge in a cafe, sipping tea or turkish coffee and smoking a hookah (most places suggested the apple tobacco, which was quite nice). Finally, take an afternoon to simply wander the streets and get a little lost. You'll find magic at every corner. 

DRESS: Max & Cleo PUFFER COAT: Uniqlo Water Defender Ultra Light Down Riders Jacket (c/o) DENIM JACKET: H&M HAT: BCBG SCARF: Theory BOOTS: Calvin Klein via Shoebuy.com (also seen here, here) BAG: J. Crew (also seen here, here)

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buyukada, princes' islands
Around every corner was something surprisingly beautiful
Ada Palas Hotel
Decor at the restaurant in Ada Palas Hotel
horse carriage buyukada, boston travel blog
Travel by phaeton or foot
boston travel
Outfit details in post