Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Istanbul trip-- if you decide to visit

I enjoyed my stay at the friendly and over the top Premist Hotel:

They have a great traditional breakfast with tons of cheeses, olives, pastries, fruits, tomatoes, eggs, cucumbers, coffee, and fresh juice.

Everything you eat in Istanbul will be delicious and fresh. 

Try the borek stuffed with cheese and spinach or potatoes and drink a hot milky salep. 

Eat some tiny fish at any of the restaurants under the Galata Bridge. Even at night there are still fisherman above on the bridge casting their lines.

Delicious, caught the same day.

Also by the Galata Bridge, this boat. They will grill freshly caught fish for you and whip up a tasty little sandwich which you eat with lemon juice. 

Try a Turkish coffee and some of the fresh pressed juices off the street.

Try the kofta or the iskender kebab

Take a Turkish bath at any of the hamami. The Suleymaniye Hamami is the only co-ed one. 

It was built in 1550 by this guy!

Inside, you change into a towel in these cute little cabin rooms and you get some wooden slippers. Then you go into the steamy hot rooms, lay on a marble slab, while an old man scrubs and massages you with a goat mitt. It feels great during and after. Don't forget to tip. 

 Suleymaniye Mosque. Go there before or after your schvitz at the Suleymaniye Hamami.

Suleymaniye Mosque dome

 Suleymaniye Mosque courtyard

Get a straight razor shave while you're there. It was about 5 Turkish Lira or $2.50 USD.

Walk around Beyoglu and Besiktas. This is the vibrant and active side of Istanbul. The Sultanahamet/Old City is much more touristy. 

The fish and fruit market near Istiklal Caddesi/Galata.

 Walk around the area near the Galata Tower. Check out all the instrument shops. 

Visit the Blue Mosque (near the Hagia Sophia in the old town/Sultanahamet neighborhood)

Inside the Blue Mosque

Inside the Blue Mosque

Visit Chora Church/ Kariye Church. It's off the beaten path but worth it. You can also see the Theodosian walls, which were built in the 5th century by Constantine the Great.

Chora Church or Kariye Church

Chora Church or Kariye Church

Chora Church or Kariye Church

Chora Church/ Kariye Church

Crazy construction right by the Theodosian walls

Baklava is everywhere, but my favorite place was Hafitz Mustafa. There is one at the top of Istiklal caddesi near Taksim Square. 

The Hafiz Mustafa 1864 baklava scientists at work

Makers of baklava since 1864!

The Nostalgia tram at the top of the Istiklal caddesi. 

                               Saint Antoine Church, along the Istiklal caddesi

The Cicek Pasaji, or flower passage, is a beautiful place to stop for lunch on the Istiklal caddesi.

Catch the ferry at Eminonu to Kadikoy, the asian side of Istanbul

Inside the ferry

If it's nice, you can sit on the outside. It takes about 20 minutes. 

There are many cool stores and restaurants in Kadikoy now. Stop by Zoltan Records.

Topkapi Palace outer gates

Topkapi Palace

Topkapi Palace splendor

Topkapi Palace splendor

Topkapi Palace splendor

Inner Topkapi Palace

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