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Author Topic: Istanbul  (Read 4868 times)

Offline Babs

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Istanbul
« on: July 17, 2012, 09:07:03 AM »
I may be going a little off the 'enjoy Kalkan' agenda here however......we are going to Istanbul for a few days in October. I have been on Trip Advisor to get some tips but there are so many posts on there from so many different types of people that its hard for it to be really really useful.
So I thought that as some of you lovely like minded people have visited I would pick your brains for ideas of places to visit, nice boats trips, lovely restaurants.....to Kalkan standards etc. Basically what are the 'must dos' and maybe the ' interesting but never thought of things' to do.
Particularly interested in things like really nice but not overly posh or expensive restaurants, where we can get good fish and Turkish dishes, bars and restaurants with beautiful views and also would like to see some traditional dancing....Dervishes....sorry if I've spelt that wrong.

Thanks in anticipation!

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Offline Blue Lizard

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Re: Istanbul
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2012, 09:38:58 AM »
Suleymaniye Mosque and Sultan Ahmet(blue mosque) are must sees along with Topkapi Palace....these you can usually get as a trip from your hotel..nice way to see it as you get transported around and a guide to tell you things of interest...also try the Grand Bazaar...giant market ,very vibrant and nostalgic but slightly "Pouncy" .... ;)
People Of Britain.. When your missus asks "Does my bum look big in this? Never say "Dunno your blocking the light."... just sayin ????

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Offline Babs

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Re: Istanbul
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2012, 02:16:50 PM »
Thanks....we can cope with 'pouncy' after visiting Marrakech and Fez! Think I know about most of the big sights from the guide book.....anyone have any boat, bar or restaurant recommendations......or maybe a trip to the Asian side?

Offline Skunk

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Re: Istanbul
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2012, 02:38:26 PM »
Marrakech and Fez are pretty tame compared to the Grand Bazaar!! Just don't let anyone try to show you anything at all!! There is a beautiful tea garden next door to the Suleymanyihe Mosque which overlooks the Bosphorus and the view will blow your mind!  We went to the Asian side on a public transport boat - far cheaper than the tourist ones.  The Asian side has a very different more sober atmosphere than the European side, and is much poorer.  Another place worth considering is the ancient underground cisterns in the old town, they are beautiful and a great escape from the sun on a hot day.  Also, I would suggest there are some interesting museums of Islamic art worth having a look at.  Restaurant wise I can't think of any of note except the marvellous fish restaurants which are all grouped together in market style - can't quite remember where they are but very well known so your hotel or a taxi driver will show you. They're very lively on a Saturday with live music etc. and very Turkish with whole families eating together at tables groaning with Mezze and fish, and drinking Raki or Ayran. Also, go down to the Bosphorus and get a fish sandwich off the boats from the fishermen - freshly barbecued on the boat and absolutely delicious.  Taksim is very busy in the evening and full of lively young people so probably better for night life than the old part, which tends to be a bit quiet at night.  It is the most vibrant city I have ever been to - my sister lived there for a few years so I'll see if she's got any other tips! Have fun, I know you will.  SX  ;D ;D ;D 8)

Offline Babs

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Re: Istanbul
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2012, 03:55:41 PM »
Thanks Skunk....the fish restaurants sound great, unfortunately we aren't there on a Saturday evening but will give them a go. I didn't mention we were in Fez for Eid when traditionally every family slaughters a ram in their home.....the souks were like Tescos the day before Christmas eve except the main item of the feast was being bought alive....we also witnessed chickens going from live to oven ready in about a minute.....if we can survive that I'm sure we will be fine. So looking forward to Istanbul it looks amazing.....now we just need tips for restaurants to match Kalkan and we will be away!

Offline kevincat99

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Re: Istanbul
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2012, 04:03:03 PM »

The fish restaurant area is called Kumkapi and is to the South of the entrance to the Grand Bazar on Istikbal Street [ where the metrobus runs]

However it is a tourist trap so be careful

Maybe this will help 


 http://www.turkeytravelplanner.com/go/Istanbul/RestsCafesBars/kumkapi/

 

Offline Skunk

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Re: Istanbul
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2012, 05:29:56 PM »
Ha, I think the Fez experience sounds a tad more challenging than the bazaar then!! The fish restaurant area  is a tourist trap but if you look for the places where the Turks go they are their usual friendly selves in our experience and offer great hospitality!  We went to the Four Seasons hotel restaurant in Sultanhamet for my golden jubilee - it was very expensive but a very opulent experience. There are a few roof terrace restaurants there as well.  Enjoy.  ;D ;D ;D

Offline Chris_S

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Re: Istanbul
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2012, 10:16:24 AM »
We found the lonely Planet Guide Book useful.  There are some excellent routes given around the city, and especially taking in the Bazaar that our subsequent tour guide was impressed with at it's coverage.

As always with Lonely Planet stuff, you need to filter out the things that aren't 'you', especially the backpacking/hippy things.

We had a tour that covered the major sights (we went in the days of Tapestry before coming onto Kalkan), and hired the guide independently the day after to do the things the tour didn't cover.  With all three, we reckon we covered most things!

As an aside, the underground cistern is featured in "From Russia With Love" - you'lll recognise it when you see it!  definitely worth the visit, as it is not covered in most tours, strangely.

Can't single out any particular restaurants to recommend, though we did have an excellent fish meal on the 'new' bridge, as I remember.
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Offline Tatilde

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Re: Istanbul
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2012, 11:27:25 AM »
We were in Istanbul in March. I agree with Skunk about the fish sandwiches. Delicious.
I preferred the Spice Bazaar to the Grand Bazaar. Not quite so full on.
We also came across a small market selling plants, seeds etc. and, strangely, leeches that were in jars. Didn't buy any.

Offline tortoise lady

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Re: Istanbul
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2012, 08:20:16 PM »
Hi Babs,  Saw your post about Istanbul earlier today, have just returned home to find many people have already replied.   I would recommend Rami restaurant.  It is just behind the Blue Mosque.  They have a lovely covered terrace type room on the top floor - it overlooks the Blue Mosque.  From May to October (so hopefully it will still be happening) the Mosque has a Sound and Light Show at dusk.   The trick is to book a day or two before if  possible at Rami, time your visit to just before the Sound and Light Show, and ask for a table at the very front of the windows.  You can then have your meal with this fabulous view.

We have had both lunch and dinner at Rami's and much enjoyed it.  We especially remember the Turkish coffee.   It was produced as a proper ceremony, not just brought out as cups of coffee.   Also some delicious almond liquer afterwards.

Not only do you get to watch the show with your meal but then you can have glimpses of whirling dervishes dancing at a kind of tea garden just below at the other side of the road.  We never got to have a meal in the tea garden (they don't serve alcohol) but even catching glimpses from Rami's added to the atmosphere.

Skunk has already recommended the Four Seasons hotel for a meal.   We had a lovely dinner  there outside in the gardens on a summer day, probably would be inside in October.   Not cheap but a lovely treat.

The underground cistern has already been recommended.   Try not to miss it.   I would also recommend that a visit to Topkapi Palace should include a visit to the Harem.   They have timed visits and only so many a day so you need to go and buy a ticket as soon as you arrive at the Palace.  They are sold just outside the Harem.  It costs extra but I thought worth it.   I think you also have to pay to go into the Treasury but I think tickets for that can be bought as you first go into the Palace.  Again I would recommend a visit there.

We went several times to the Grand Bazaar, a family member keen to track down St George's icons.   Rather later in the afternoon seemed better, in the morning there seemed to be lots of people around from cruise ships and stall holders were very keen to make sales.   It all seemed more relaxed later in the day.

I hope you have a wonderful time in Istanbul.


Offline Skunk

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Re: Istanbul
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2012, 08:35:03 PM »
Hi tortoise Lady some great tips there - I am on a secret mission (from OH) for a half term break to Istanbul for October so some very interesting ideas.  It's some time since I went so very good to get an update.  :) :) :) ;)

Offline Babs

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Re: Istanbul
« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2012, 10:08:26 PM »
thanks everyone.......will definitely look out for Ramis Tortoise Lady!


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