For my last day in Istanbul, I decided to take a break from Istanbul and visit the Princes' Islands (Adalar). Since they are only about an hour's ferry ride from the city, they are a popular weekend retreat for Istanbul locals, hence the warning from guidebooks and websites alike to not go on the weekend.
To get there, I descended from Taksim square to the Kabatash ferry port via funicular. The funicular has two sets of cars which run in opposite directions up and down a track (it is a single track at the two ends, and a double track in the middle where the upgoing and downgoing cars pass each other). The wheels at the top spin in opposite directions, winding or unwinding a cable to which the cars are attached.
After getting to Kabatash, I took the ferry to the island of Heybiliada (the second largest of the Princes' Islands). There are no cars on the islands, which contributes greatly to the sense of serentity one feels there (especially after experiencing the crazy driving and traffic in Istanbul!) I walked everywhere, but other options include renting a bicycle and getting a ride in a horse-drawn carraige.
The majority of the buildings on the island are old, wooden houses, some of which are in better states of repair than others:
Some of the houses have nice plants and gardens:
This is a more-or-less typical street on the island:
I really like this tree growing out of the middle of the street:
I met some cute kittens in my wanderings:
Towards mid-afternoon, the weather became threating, with storm clouds looming in the sky, although it never actually rained (at least not where I was).
I got back to Istanbul just in time to have a nice dinner out with Kaan (the manager of the Downtown Istanbul hostel where I stayed), two of his friends (Okan and Daria), and Ben (one of the other guests at the hostel).