EuroAdventure15: Last day in Istanbul

(posted by Emily)

30 June 2015
Istanbul, Turkey
26,461 steps (11.48 miles walked)

On our last morning in Istanbul, we wanted to explore a bit more of the Asian side of the city. Spoiler alert--when we thought we were in Asia the other day, we weren't in acuality.....oops. 

Rick did some research about which boat to take, so we hopped on a ferry over to Kadikoy. Some may pay a pretty penny for a Bosphorus cruise but let me tell you--the views were just as stunning from this boat and it was a fraction of the cost! Only 4TL per person. 


View of the Old City




From R to L: Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, and the Blue Mosque

Once we arrived, we wandered around the neighborhoods near the water. Moda has a great reputation for being sort of like the Brooklyn of Istanbul, and we found that we really loved it. The streets were quiet, and it was the first insatnce we had had in the city where we felt like we were actually experiencing Istanbul and what it is really like to live there. 

We wandered to a ocean-side cafe, and enjoyed relaxing with a Turkish coffee for a bit.




After the coffee, we walked down to the water. No beach here, but spectacular views of the Old City across the water from the rocks.


Straddling Hagia Sophia



We decided to head over to the Tuesday market in the Hasanpasa area--it was a bit of a hike, but there was plenty to see along the way like great street art and (apparently) the wedding dress district. Shop after shop after shop was filled with dresses. 



We could tell we were close when we started seeing lots of women with plastic shopping bags--and then we turned a corner and were there! This market was unlike anything we have ever seen--a huge food section with tons of stalls of fresh produce and then aisle after aisle of clothing and fabric wares like curtains and sheets. Unbelievable. We picked up half a kilo of strawberries for 2TL.





After the market, we decided lunch was in order. Rick had found out about a set of restaurants called Ciya, which are all the brain children of Istanbul's most famous chef (name and link to be added later!). He's been written about in the New Yorker and Food & Wine magazine, just to give you some perspective :) 

Mezes were self-serve, and then we ordered red lentil soup, falafel, stuffed zucchini blossoms, and some sort of a veggie flatbread. All of the food was outstanding, with the exception of the flatbread. We weren't huge fans of that! Rick said the lentil soup was his favorite dish of the trip so far, something he could eat everyday :) 




After lunch, it was back to the ferry to pick up our bags from Black Tulip. Even though check out was at noon, we were able to leave our backpacks in the luggage room until later. We noodled on the internet a bit, then got on the metro to the airport--our first use of public transit this trip!

It was a hot and sweaty trip, so we were especially grateful for access to the Primeclass lounge at Ataturk airport, a perk of Rick's Citi Prestige card. And, now I fully understand why those lounges have showers in them! We both took a shower and changed clothes, ready and refreshed for our flight to Athens.





Walking to our gate

Planes at Ataturk

The view flying over Istanbul

We arrived in Athens around 11pm and our flight to Crete leaves at 5am tomorrow. So, it's a night in the airport for us! No sense in wasting money on a hotel room we'll only be in for 3 hours! Even though IST to ATH was only an hour flight, it's amazing to see how much more westernized and modern things feel here--well, at least in the airport! :)

Camped out for a bit

Good night for now--we'll fill you in on the details about how we got to Crete in the morning!
--E&R

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