Good food and good times in Istanbul

Today we woke up early and had breakfast at or hotel before heading over to the Blue Mosque. With our head scarfs on and shoes off we went inside. The ceiling is absolutely beautiful- I don’t think my camera moved from the upward position the entire time we were inside.

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20140310-165048.jpg next we went to the Hagia Sophia, which was also beautiful.IMG_9313
Then we went to the Basilica Cistern-this was my favorite thing we saw all day. It was so interesting and cool. It was like nothing I’ve ever seen before!20140306-113510.jpg20140306-113446.jpg Later we went to the spice market. This was such an experience. I wish I could buy just about everything in there. There was spices, candies, teas, soaps, trinkets, souviners, etc.
next we made a quick stop for tea and coffee. Aunt Laurie tried some Turkish coffee, mom had tea and I had lemonade with mint. The Turkish coffee was interesting to say the least. It pretty much tasted and looked like mud. My lemonade was delicious though.IMG_9591

Next we met up with a former coworker friend of my aunt Laurie named Ezra who is Turkish and lives in the city. She was so sweet and offered to take us around and show us the Bosphora area of the city. We walked around and she suggested we try some street food so we got these things that are essentially loaded baked potatoes. They were piled high with cheese, corn, olives, peas, bulgar wheat salad, and meat. It was so different but so yummy. After we went and had some Turkish wine and sat by the water. Then we went and walked around looking at all the street vendors. Visiting this area really gives you a different opinion of Istanbul. On this side of the city it feels much more modern.

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Merhaba Türkiye – our first evening in Istanbul

I think I was born in the wrong country. Even before landing in Istanbul I was being courted by the young, god-looking Turkish man sitting beside me. He spent the majority of the flight telling me I am very beautiful and he can make me very very happy. Being the awkward person I am, I would just smile, said thank you and go back to sleeping or watching my movie. You know, just breaking some foreign hearts-all in a days work.
After landing we arrived at our hotel in the Beyszit area near the Grand Bazaar where we met up with my Aunt Laurie. We all ventured out and ended up eating at a restaurant called Sar’s, which the man at the front desk recommended. When we sat down we asked the waiter what he recommended and we ended up with an entire table full of food to share. We had hummus and a spicy tomato dip with fresh pita bread to start. Next we had some kind of meat and potato pie, iskender kebab, and some kind of cheesy bread that looked like a boat. Everything was absolutely amazing! I may have to take my creepy man friend from the airplane up on his offer of love so I can stay here forever -and just eat!

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After eating way too much delicious food, we walked around the area near the bazaar and tried (and bought) our first Turkish Delight. It was absolutely delicious and I’m sure we will have no trouble finishing the box before we leave.

20140302-215209.jpg We then went to a cute bar near our hotel called the harem, where mom and Laurie had raki, the traditional Turkish liquor. I however was content with my apple tea, since I don’t like licorice flavored anything.

20140302-215250.jpg Tomorrow is our only full day to explore the city-so I’m hoping to hit the ground running and see all I can see.