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Turkey PTR - Day 4: More Istanbul

gavin

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I’ve been putting off reporting on my summer trip since there’s just so f**king much to get through, but here goes. This year, I went to Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia. I think I’ll write a separate report for each country just to keep track of it all, so here’s Turkey. This was the biggest section of the trip, taking in 3 cities (chosen because of proximity to creds)

Part 1 – Istanbul and some +1s

I don’t know why, but I’d bene putting off Istanbul for ages, not because I didn’t want to go, but more because it was “just there” and could be done at any time really. I got to the hotel in the evening and didn’t do anything, then had the next day as a tourist day.

I was staying in the Karakoy area, which was just across a bridge to most of the main tourist sites, without being stuck in tourist trap Hell. Decent view from the hotel:





And then across the river and from the bridge:









Looking back over to the other side:





I didn’t have much of a plan of action for the day, but the top sites are all pretty much clustered together. I ended up starting with the Topkapi Palace. I’m just going to do a picture dump, but it was all pretty impressive. I think I timed it well since I got a ticket and went straight in, but by the time I left there was a good 30-minute+ queue for tickets. It’s split into different areas and has a decent terrace for views back across the river.













































I’d gone in through some minor entrance thanks to the way I’d walked in from, but left via a main entrance right next to the Hagia Sofia.









There’s a bunch of small tomb buildings behind it. Nothing amazing, but free and fairly hidden, so nobody was really there.









I quite stupidly ate lunch at some place on the main square opposite the Hagia Sofia, knowing that the prices would be massively inflated thanks to the location, but it was still cheap as f**k





I’d bought some combo ticket at the palace which included the Hagia Sofia, and also meant being able to skip the queue. Another photo dump coming up; it was really impressive, especially considering how old it is.









































The Blue Mosque is pretty much opposite, so I popped in there, too. It was a bit disappointing on the inside since there’s a load of construction going on, so there’s a fake ceiling just a few feet high right under the main dome.





















Some other old s**te:





The Basilica Cistern was in the same area. It was very cool, but didn’t have any water in it thanks to renovation work, so that sort of defeats the purpose.















It was pretty late in the day by this point, but I’d managed to knock off 4 of the “must do” sites, so decided to pick up the couple of creds that were nearest the city centre. Turkey, and the whole region really, has a bunch of +1 “Luna Park” type places, most of which open around 11 or 12ish and stay open until between 11pm and 2am. I didn’t do any of these places stupidly late, but I liked these opening hours. If you’re short on time, you could potentially fill the day with tourist crap and then pick up creds at night when all that stuff has closed.

Anyway,

Feshane Dünyasi Çocuk Eğlence Parkı

Got a bus here easily enough (public transport in Turkey, Istanbul especially, is excellent: cheap, frequent and easy to use), and spent all of 10 minutes at the park before hopping on another one. Just a big apple here.

















From there it was to some shopping mall park.

Fun Lab







It was a lot more substantial than I was expecting. I knew there was just one cred in there, but couldn’t remember what (there are a few of these places over this trip and I wasn’t keeping track), but it turned out to be a pretty big one. Well, it looked big since it was inside, but wasn’t really.

It had a steep, curved lifthill that took it up into a different level of the mall where it did a turn around before dropping back into the amusement park section. After that, it was just one big helix back to the bottom. So, a bit s**t really.































I’m pretty sure I just got a taxi back to the hotel area after that. Proper park day coming next.
 

gavin

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Day 2 – Isfanbul and +1s

No culture in this bit – well, maybe a bit at the end – since this was the first of two days I’d set aside just for creds. The first major park of the trip wasn’t far out of the city centre, so I just got a 20-minute taxi and arrived for opening, though it could have been done in about 40 minutes by public transport.

Isfanbul

Formally known as Vialand, the taxi drop off/pick up was miles away from the park entrance, at the complete opposite end of the attached shopping mall. Walked past this simulator thing on the way:



First views of the park (from there at least; I’d seen it on the way in) and the main entrance:









I’d been sold some package thing, which I didn’t ask for, at the ticket office near the drop off point, which included some crap inside the mall itself. When I realised, I went to guest services to complain/get a refund on the crap, but seeing as it turned out to only be a few quid more, I just sucked it up in the end.

Anyway, despite Nefeskesen (Intamin Blitz thing) being right inside the entrance, I started with Angry Birds since it was running at 30-minute intervals and it was about to start.





Simulator. Total dogs**t as well.

Nefeskesen then. It was still only just after opening (not long after 11), and the park stays open quite late, so there were very few people around.















It was good fun, but felt slightly lacking in forces. It just all felt a bit tame to ride in comparison to how it looks. It’s far from a bad ride, and it’s very rerideable, but it felt more “Blue Fire” to me (with a stronger launch) than Intamin if that makes sense.

There’s a viewing platform near the queue entrance to get a decent look over the rest of the park.













I absolutely ADORE a good Small World ripoff. This one was actually pretty decent.















Next cred was a big apple that wasn't a big apple. There will be one or two more of these during this trip.





Other stuff: some nicely themed areas (especially a shops/restaurants “street”) and one of those stupid King Kong things.













The third cred is another Intamin, Maceraperest, which is a similar type to the “Ulven” mine trains, but I guess a slightly different layout? It was decent. Did a couple of rides on it anyway.















I did the splash boat since it didn’t seem too wet and it was sunny enough to dry off quickly anyway. Meh. The rapids was closed, as was the "Bling" thing (Starshape?) The drop tower was decent, but lacked the theming on the inside that it had on the outside.







This “Pirates” style water ride was pretty decent. There was an impressive, but overlong, preshow using projection effects and animatronics. It was all in Turkish, obviously, but they had headphones with a simultaneous English translation. I didn’t bother, and I’m glad I didn’t since they didn’t seem to work very well. Some awful German family kept having a go at the ride op in the room every 30 seconds because their headphones weren’t working. Who f**king cares honestly?













I finished up with a couple more rides on Nefeskesen before heading into the mall to use up the unwanted package crap.













I liked this park. It was smaller than I’d expected, but had a decent ride collection and a nice atmosphere. Operations didn’t seem great (small number of ride ops, slow loading etc.), but it wasn’t a problem since it was quiet. I don’t imagine it would be fun on a busy day though.

There are three attractions inside the mall, all next to each other and near the entrance I’d come in from. Safari was a shooting dark ride. Not bad.



Zindan was a ghost train. Not bad.



I think the above two rides used to be in the main park. Looking at older pictures, they seem to be in there. Maybe the park was ready before the mall? Anyway, it’s a bit cheeky to now have them as upcharge attractions in a slightly different location.

The third thing was just a small animal exhibit. Nothing special really though they had a decent tarantula collection.













Getting out was a pain. No cars were appearing on the ride hailing apps and there were no taxis coming through the mall’s pick-up point, no doubt because it was a quiet time of an already quiet day, so I was standing around for a good 20 minutes before I got out for some cred whoring.

Beyrampasa Sehir Parki

No idea where that name’s come from since it’s just Ada Park on the maps. It’s just a little city park with some rides shoved in one end, including a big apple.





















Got an absolute f**kwit of a taxi driver who didn’t know where the huge nearby shopping mall was even though it was only a 10-minute drive away, was f**king massive, and I was showing the map in Turkish. After the second time within the first two minutes he stopped to ask for directions, I just got out and walked 10-minutes to the nearest metro station.

MOi Park

Mall of Istanbul Park. Get it? Genius.



No.



Like the mall from the previous day, the amusement park area was pretty big, with a substantial spinning coaster, a kiddy cred and a bunch of flat rides. The spinner was ok for what it was, and used the space well.













































I’d never seen one of these before (seen the much older “Rotor” rides), so I was quite impressed. For anyone who doesn’t know what a rotor is, it’s just a spinning room where the floor drops out and riders stick to the wall. In this never version (I think from SBF Visa), the walls are almost transparent and the lighting inside changes. Anyway, it seemed very unique.



Next shopping mall.

Star Park



Oh.



This place just had two kiddy coasters, one ridiculously small, but it wasn’t an issue getting on either other than dealing with the embarrassment.









Next!

Florya Luna Park

In the taxi on the way, I spotted another, unlisted coaster. I just about stopped myself from jumping from a moving vehicle to get the cred, instead making a note of where it was to head back later. Anyway, the park I was intending to be my last for the day was right on the coast and had a(nother) big apple.















So yeah, I clearly doubled back on myself to get the UNLISTED CRED I’d just been past. The park was pretty much the exact same thing as the last one.

Hayrola Luna Park



















Here’s the culture bit from walking back to my hotel. I intended to go up that tower at some point, but never bothered.













And from the hotel roof terrace.













The dragon was pretty terrifying.



Not a bad day then. 6 parks and 10 creds, including an Intamin blitz and 4 big apples with the unknown/unlisted one.

It was another park/cred day the next day.
 

gavin

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Your big-apple dedication puts us all to shame.... :)
Until this trip, I don't think I even had that many. They're nowhere near as much of a thing in this part of the world. We get Jungle Mouse coasters and powered dragons instead.
 

davidm

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Your lowest-quality-available-coaster dedication puts us all to shame.... :)

(to be fair, some of the culture in the first day is very impressive tho')
 

Hixee

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Just catching up with this - quite impressed by those views. Particularly like the Hagia Sophia shots over the water, that's magnificent. Nearly as good as Nefeskesen top-hat on the hill. ;)
 

gavin

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Day 3: More Parks

The next day was put aside as another cred day. It turned into a massive faff, but everything got done in the end.

ViaSea
ViaSea was quite far out of the city, but not difficult to access. I could/should have taken the train, but there were taxis right outside the hotel, so I just did that since I left a bit later than I’d wanted. I was aiming to get there shortly after opening, but about halfway there it started pissing down. During the whole 3-week trip, this was the only time the weather was remotely a problem.

So, I got there and the park wasn’t open. They don’t open in the rain at all. I guess it’s better than paying money to get in and not ride anything, though.











The weather forecast had the rain stopping by around 1pm, so I got a coffee (shopping area attached as with Isfanbul) and sat it out for a while. Nope, still not happening, so I left. I had most of the next day free, which I didn’t want to use on parks, but at least that was an option.

Taxi to some nearby +1 then

DAL Tema Park

Listed as something else on RCDB (Via/Crazy Park), but as DAL on maps, this was shoved into the car park of a shopping mall.



It had a fancy entrance with live peacocks, and was pretty pleasant for such a small place. One crappy cred: a DAL Dragon, which is a slightly beefed up Go-Gator really.























The rain had stopped by this point, but I decided to continue with some +1 whoring, making a couple of mistakes with public transport. The whole area was covered by a bunch of small minibuses, but the routes were unclear. The destination would be on the front, and the driver would say “yes” to the place you were going to, but some were more direct and others went a massively out of the way route. I was on one of them for almost an hour before I ditched it and got a taxi. Waste of time.

Anyway, I picked up a +3 from various little parks. I’ve decided I’m not going to type up every one of those. I’ve got too much to get through and the workload/reward ratio isn’t worth the f**king effort. Here’s one of them, so you get the idea:





It was probably around 4pm by this point, and the weather had massively cleared up, so I headed back to the first park.

ViaSea Again

Only the theme park isn’t called ViaSea. The area is ViaSea/ViaPort, but the park is actually called:

Korsan Adasi (Pirate Island)

This place pissed me off. The prices for foreigners were massively inflated. You had to go to a different ticketing window - because that’s not a giveaway that you’re about to get f**ked without lube - and could only get the park as part of a package with other nearby stuff. The cheapest option was a package with either the Crocodile Park or Lion Park, both housed in a building next to the park entrance. Even if locals bought the stuff in the package, which they weren’t required to, they’d still be paying loads less.

Locals had the option of paying entrance only + ride tickets (£3.50/$4.30 entrance) or an all-inclusive ticket for £9.70/$12. My ticket, with the crappy Lion Park that I didn’t want? £27/$33. Almost three times the local price. F**king disgraceful.





Anyway, Red Fire, which turned out to be my 100th Intamin:









I liked this a lot. I’d done iSpeed, and I know I liked it, but I couldn’t remember much about it, so this wasn’t a coaster I was particularly bothered about, but it was fab. Maybe the lack of OTSRs made it better than iSpeed. I ended up much preferring it to Nefeskesen as well. It just seemed to be a lot more forceful. Second best coaster in Turkey.











These things are just a cancer on parks at the moment. Ugh.





For a brief moment, I was in a slightly better mood when I “discovered” this unlisted cred:





Exactly the same bloody thing as the one posted a bit earlier, a DAL Dragon.





The final coaster is an Intamin Family Coaster (Mine Train Ulven clone), so I completed the set of those. I liked the two of this model I’d done before (Bakken and Happy Valley Shanghai) but I think the slightly different one at Isfanbul was perhaps slightly better, or I might just be making that up. Probably not much in them.















More Red Fire.









I did rerides on Family Coaster and more on Red Fire just so that I wasn’t done in half an hour. I didn’t like this place at all. It was actually tiny, and the price gouging, in case you hadn’t realised earlier, massively pissed me off.

I popped into Lion Park since I had the ticket. Crocodile Park was on the lower level, with the cats above. It was fine, but didn’t warrant more than 15 minutes.













I got the train back into the city, stopping off at another +1 park on the way back since it was on the same line. I’ll chuck this one in since it was slightly more substantial than some of the others.

Bostanci Luna Park

Can’t be arsed to write any more. You can see what’s here:













 

davidm

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Your super-sized-go-gator dedication puts us all to shame.... :)

(the Intamins in Istanbul had always intrigued me somewhat (all the ****e +1s notsomuch) - its presumably the same company that owns the two 'major' parks - guess it was a multi-buy offer at the time and/or the Intamin salesteam had a good few months)
 

gavin

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Your super-sized-go-gator dedication puts us all to shame.... :)

(the Intamins in Istanbul had always intrigued me somewhat (all the ****e +1s notsomuch) - its presumably the same company that owns the two 'major' parks - guess it was a multi-buy offer at the time and/or the Intamin salesteam had a good few months)
Yeah, not sure now, but they were certainly the same company when they opened at least. ViaLand and ViaSea, each with a slightly different Intamin Blitz and Intamin Family Coaster in them. ViaLand (now Isfanbul) is the MUCH more substantial park though; the park bit is probably 4 times the size and has a lot more rides. I think the price was similar, but without the foreigner gouging.
 

Hixee

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Enjoyed this one, again. Love the image of you just trooping around the outskirts of Istanbul getting creds.
Locals had the option of paying entrance only + ride tickets (£3.50/$4.30 entrance) or an all-inclusive ticket for £9.70/$12. My ticket, with the crappy Lion Park that I didn’t want? £27/$33. Almost three times the local price. F**king disgraceful.
Quoting this just to support you in this frustration. Awful, awful practice.
 

gavin

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Enjoyed this one, again. Love the image of you just trooping around the outskirts of Istanbul getting creds.

Quoting this just to support you in this frustration. Awful, awful practice.
I get it, and actually support it, if you're talking about some sort of cultural relics. For example, I fully agree that Cambodians should be able to access Ankor Wat for free, or Egyptians should be able to access the pyramids, or Turks should be able to see the Hagia Sofia (or countless other examples) since it's part of their history, culture and heritage. It's fair to charge foreign visitors more to access these since it's pure tourism on their part and there needs to be money for upkeep.

But when places like theme parks piggy-back off this practice, it's purely down to greed, is a total ripoff and needs to be called out. Can you imagine the f**king uproar if a UK park tried that s**t?
 

Hixee

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Oh yeah, it's the theme park bit of it that's gross. I'm alright with it for the 'local culture' stuff as you say.

Feels like daylight robbery for a cred, though.
 

gavin

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Boring cultural bit alert…

Turkey Day 4
Parks were done. I had a train out in the early evening, so I did some more mincing around Istanbul. I had planned to go to some archeological museum which was included in the pass from earlier, but the pass had expired. Meh.

Same place as before:















Found another old cistern on the way to summat else. This one was only discovered a few years ago and it seems that very few people know about it, so I had the place to myself. Free as well and used as an art gallery. ‘twas fab.













Some old pillar and aquaduct:









Walked up a hill to another mosque. Wasn’t that arsed about the mosque, but glad I did since the views from there were really decent.





























Back down the hill and back across the bridge to the hotel.





I had plenty of time left, so just used public transport (tram and metro) to get to the train station in the east of the city. The “high speed” train to Ankara was cheap (I think I paid about 20 quid for 1st class), but I’ve been spoiled by China’s system since it felt a bit slow, was hardly a “1st class” experience, and arrived almost an hour late. Oh well.

Ankara

It’s not on most tourists’ lists when it comes to Turkey, but there’s a ludicrous new park there. My hotel was only a 10-minute walk from the train station. I got a fairly fancy one for next to nothing, and had a fab view from the balcony over to one of the parks. Cred anxiety was kicking in, but it was already midnight, so I left it. Have some blurry pictures anyway:









Park day next.
 
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