I had made plans to visit Lake Abant this weekend. My friend Kyndall and I wanted to rent a car, but due to the Bayram holiday, there were none available. We had considered several other plans such as Lake Sapanca, Izmit, Ağva and Eskisehir via bus or train. There is a train that goes directly to Lake Sapanca, so we thought that was the next best choice. By the time we got our ducks in a row to leave, it was already noon, and it turns out that there was not another train till after 6:00pm.
At that point I said, “Why don’t we just go up to the Black Sea? It’s not that far from us, and yet, I haven’t done it.” Kyndall said, “I don’t really care where we go. I just want out.” Like myself, Kyndall doesn’t enjoy having nothing to do.
We decided to go to Şile. There is a coach bus, 139, that leaves from Üsküdar. It cost under 10TL each way and took us about two hours. A bit longer than we expected, but that’s Istanbul.
Şile is definitely a vacation spot. The main square by the mosque features locals selling silver, jewelry, and other trinkets. The shops on the main road display clothes typically sold in beach towns. It’s all charming and there is absolutely nothing that you need.
When we first arrived, we were starving. We walked all over creation trying to find somewhere with a Turkish menu. We just wanted some mezes and köfte, but there were a lot of fish restaurants [as there should be on the sea] and places serving things like burgers. I suggested we go back up towards the main square, away from the water, to find what we wanted.
Sure enough, we did! Later, down by the pier, we sat down for a tea [as one does in Turkey], and their menu said they had mezes as well and for a bit cheaper. We’ll have to go again and compare. Where we ate, however, had perfectly standard portions and it was exactly what we had wanted. I’d recommend the place, but I didn’t take the business card, so I don’t know what it was called…
The Black Sea was beautiful. I love to swim, but I’m not allowed to swim for three weeks after my surgery. I stood in the water, a perfect temperature, and felt as though my soul was being tormented. I wanted to dive in so badly.
At one point, Kyndall spotted what looked like jelly fish… except it appeared they didn’t have tentacles. She tried to pick one up with a stick. When a little girl was passing us with her mother, she noticed what we were doing, ran into the water and scooped one into her bare hand. Kyndall and I screamed thinking that she would get stung. The mother laughed and encouraged us try.
We capped off our evening eating sunflower seeds on the pier while watching the sunset.
After our tea and cheesecake, we made our way back to the bus, which was full. Book your seat as soon as you arrive so that you have a seat. Kyndall an I sat on the steps of the bus for the long journey back.
If you need a day trip away from Istanbul, but you’ve done Prince’s Island a million times already, Şile is an easy place to reach. Bring your suit and enjoy the water!