EuroAdventure15: All Around Instanbul

(posted by Emily)

29 June 2015
Istanbul, Turkey
39,766 steps (18.23 miles)

Monday was another early morning for us. After another great breakfast at Black Tulip, we walked up to the Hagia Sophia area in order to be on time for the opening of the Basilica Cistern at 9am. We wandered the neighborhood a bit, taking in another calm morning and views of the museum.

While we waited for the istern to open, we found a spot on a bench nearby and made a new friend, who followed us over to our seats. Almost as soon as Rick said, "I don't think she'll jump up here," we had a seatmate.

The Basilica Cistern is an underground water storage area named for a basilica that was once in existence on top of the subterranean cavern. Of all the museums and exhibits we've seen here, I think this one was my favorite. The lighting was spectacular, and it was quiet and calm so early in the morning. There is music playing inside, adding to the mystical mood. 

In the back corner of the cistern are two Medusa heads. No one is quite sure why they are there, but they seem to have been brought from somewhere else.

After the Basilica, we walked over to the Grand Bazaar. I think I was most excited to see what this entailed, since shopping (and haggling) is one of my favorite pastimes :) 

The bazaar is the largest covered market in the world, and it was fun to wander the corridors and look at all the ifferent stalls.  

Because we have packed so lightly for this trip, we weren't able to buy as much as I would have liked. Let's be real--I would buy one of each of these glass lamps if I could, but we can't really carry all of that with us for the next 5 weeks! Our compromise was to pick up some smaller votive holders in the same mosaic style. 

We dropped our purchases off at the hotel, and headed off across the bridge to the Galata are. Rick wanted to walk to Taksim Square and past all of the shops. We stopped for a quick falafel snack, the best falafel we've had so far this trip.

Along the way to Taksim, we stopped in to Zara (aka Rick's most favorite shopping destination) and walked down the main, touristy street, By the time we got there, we were definitely ready for a sit break, and a littl underwhelmed. The square wasn't nearly as impressive as we would have expected. 

We turned back around and headed back toward Galata/Beyoglu. Once we were rid of the crowds and into the more "hipster" neighborhood, we felt much more comfortable. We stopped for tea, and then decided to grab a snack at Ecoisthan again. Rick got a savory crepe and a smoothie, and I opted for a muffin and some snacks from his plate :) 

While at Ecoisthan, we were doodling around on the wifi when I saw on Twitter that our blog had been picked up by an online digest called Istanbul Insider. Pretty cool! 

We headed back toward the Old City, wandering down by the water to take in the views of the city.

As is now apparently customary for us, we headed back to the hotel for our early evenind siesta. By this point, we had already walked over 14 miles, and our bodies just get tired!

We got up around 9 and decided to head out for a snack and some more wandering. We stopped for a meze platter (my new favorite thing) and tea with baklava, befre heading up by the mosques to see them lit up at night. Stunning. 

We spent a bit more time wandering the Blue Mosque area, which seems to be surrounded by quiet boutique hotels and cafe/bars. We decided to call it a night, out our feet up, and drink some tea in our room while doing some research about what to do tomorrow and watching RT and Bloomberg. Abother great day in this beautiful city!


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