Turkey – Day 1

Turkey – Day 1

Vicky would not have approved how we did our first day in Turkey. There was no itinerary that we stuck to, nor did we visit any of the museums or mosques. We instead meandered our way around town to explore to get a lay of the land.

Since our Airbnb is right off New District’s Iskatlal Street, a major pedestrian shopping street, we decided to walk around the area. Unfortunately, not much is open at 8AM, but we managed to find a breakfast place that serves Turkish egg dishes.

Menemen with Turkish sausage that you eat with white bread. Tap water in Istanbul is not potable, so water is served in a sealed plastic cup (1TL each).

The entire meal came out to be 37TL, about $5, which gets you a breakfast muffin for one person back home. The egg was slightly bland for me, but it did its job.

On our way back to the apartment, I decided to get some baklava for breakfast for the next few days seeing how not much is open early in the mornings.

Found this fancy baklava chain, and apparently these are meant as gifts because they packaged my box in a vacuum sealed bag.
Since the Galata Tower is right around the corner from us, we headed that way hoping to get a panoramic view of old town, but the tower is currently under renovation.
We meandered our way down to Karakoy, where the Galata bridge would bring us across the Golden Horn to Old Town.

You can take the tram across the bridge, but then you would miss the little things you’d see along the way.

Like all the fishermen dropping their lines over the railing
Or the picture perfect view of Süleymaniye Mosque.

Once across, an underground tunnel at the foot of the bridge led us to the plaza where the spice market is located on the left.

Hanging dried eggplants, tomatoes, and cucumbers
The owner of this particular spice shop offered me a taste of his special mix, and I have to say it is the best spice mix I’ve ever had (yes, even better than Joe’s). He told me there were 46 different spices in the mix (vs Joe’s 7).
Flowers you can add to your tea
The covered portion of the spice market

Our walking route was determined by what we wanted to eat, and our next stop was Sehzade Cad Kebap.

Wood fired grilled lamb meat
Most delicious, and it was only 28TL ($4) for 2 kebabs. The taste reminded me of carne asada, but much tastier.

Of course not everything was a value, as we overpaid for our fresh pressed juice.

2 small cups were as much as 2 kebabs. But I was curious what pomegranate OJ tastes like – tangy.

We continued to wander aimlessly and saw signs for Sultanahmet Square which is where Hagia Sophia, Basilica Cistern, and the Blue Mosque are, but opted to hold those off until Thursday when we can dedicate all day to. We ended up going to the Grand Bazaar.

A warren of shops. Unfortunately, Joe and I aren’t shoppers so we didn’t linger for long.
The inside of Grand Bazaar

Decision time. Take the tram back or walk across the bridge? Walking, of course, even though we were spent. We spotted a dolphin breaching as we were midway across the lower level of the bridge – again, one of those things we would have missed had we taken the tram back. This was totally unexpected, as I’d only seen dolphins in the ocean before, not in a metropolitan setting.

What goes up must come down, and the opposite holds true. This meant climbing uphill to get back to the apt after crossing the bridge.

Reminds me of Lombardi Street in San Francisco
One of the many well fed stray cats in Istanbul.

Nap time lasted 2 1/2 hours for me, and I almost didn’t want to get up for dinner, but told myself that I would regret it if I didn’t eat.

Unlike the morning,
Iskatlal street is hopping in the evening.
Durumzade featured on Bourdain.
One of my favorite salads – tomatoes, parsley, cucumbers, cabbage, and LOTS of balsamic vinegar.
A mixed plate of chicken, lamb, mystery meat, and liver – 100TL ($15)

Food has been good so far, and the amazing part is the fact that we spent a little over $40 all day for all 3 meals plus the baklava. Who else can beat this other than Vietnam? But I’m partial to Turkish food.

2 thoughts on “Turkey – Day 1

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