Sunday, August 15, 2010


This place is seriously amazing! We arrived in at 6am and had a bit of a mix up with hostel pick up so got to the hostel about 9am - they gave us breakfast upon arrival which was nice - breakfast here is a boiled egg, a whole basket of fresh Turkish bread (so much better than Turkish bread at home) an assortment of cream cheese spread, sour cherry jam, butter, honey or nutella, usually a cracker like jatz biscuit and some form of sweet treat like walnut bread or a chocolate biscuit and slices of cucumber and tomato. Its delicious! The food here agrees with me so much more - no more constant hunger and sugar crashes!!

The city is beautiful with small cobblestone streets mixed with massive mosques and terraced houses and hostels/hotels and tons of cafes with cushions and low leveled tables - lots of steep walking and there are two sides of the main city divided by the sea. We are staying on the old side - walking distance to the Blue Mosque, 16th Century Palace, Grand Bazaar etc.

Turkish Beer
Our first day we took a wander around where we are staying and before we could check in to our room and then decided to go over to the newer part of the city over the bridge called Taksim  there is a massive mall that runs through this area and a lot more bars and cafes - we have been told its a lot more violent on that side of town and suggested not to go out there at night - the shops were very good during the day - all big brand names etc. We spent a good couple of hours walking the streets and exploring and then came back to our side of town and had some dinner close to the hotel (lots of good restaurants)
Main food is doner kebab - kind of like yiros but with nicer bread and it seems less greasy which you can get from street stalls/take away places for 2 - 6 Lira (1 Turkish Lira = 75c)  lots of hot corn stalls 1TL, meals at a restaurant for dinner around 50TL ($35ish) Meze plate is a mixture of all different types of dips and bread usually around 10TL and amazing to eat! Seriously food here is like WOW!
Cafe times
Grand Bazaar
Grand Bazaar
Grand Bazaar
Turkish Pizza
Egyptian Bazaar or Spice Bazaar
Doner Kebab
Second day we went to the Palace which had billions of dollars worth of gold/precious stones - most of it was from the 16th Century - the Ottoman Architecture is amazing. We then went to the Grand Bazaar - also amazing, So much to see - lots of amazing jewellery, home decorations, plates and carpets -if only we had more space in our bags!! We decided to to a night time dinner cruise to Bosphorus which was a bit of a splurge 60 euro each but included unlimited alcohol - i ended up on the white wine... ahhh so delicious after 4 weeks without it!! Dinner was good and there was a couple of performances like belly dancing, traditional Turkish dance, a weird midget dance with people dressed as dwarfs - food was good too :) we did get a bit drunk though! Got dropped back at our hotel at 12.30pm and then went and got a Hookah/Shisha to try out - Apple flavour - very good, much better than the ones on hindley street! tasted nice!! We also got a watermelon to eat and some beers which they forgot to charge us for - lucky! We also met a Turkish couple who owned a restaurant around the corner- the girl was very nice, he didn't speak much English but they seemed happy to be talking to some Australians :) We met up with them again and we went for an adventure through the city so they could show us a jewellery shop that they would personally buy things from - lots of amazing things but too much money!! They then took us out for Turkish Coffee (Delicious) and bought us some as a gift - They were quite wealthy but so happy to be taking us around - she loved it! we got her email address so will try catch up again before we leave. We went to the Turkish Bath in the afternoon - such a good experience!! girls go completely naked- guys cover their bits with little towels. Started sitting in a steam room kind of thing and then splashing warm water on yourself (for about 10 minutes) and then get moved to a stone bench where another person splashes you with water all over and then scrubs your skin and then soaps you up with SO much soap, then soap massage then wash it off and hair wash. The whole place was made of Marble and was built in the 1600's after the wash off we then had an oil massage and then all done :) For Rory he was washed and massaged by a man also in a towel who was rather fat (no homo), for Mel she was washed by a young skinny Turkish girl who was only wearing knickers so I think the boys would enjoy it more on the girls side hahahah!

Went to the Egyptian Bazaar which is the spice markets - so many different amazing smells and foods! Mainly just spices, preserves, Turkish delight and nougat, some dried meats and more jewellery - I think Mum would love this place!! Heading to Gallipoli tomorrow - will be sad to say goodbye to Istanbul its been amazing but excited to see more of this country!!

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