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Istanbul extras

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I visited Istanbul about 5 years ago on my own. My girlfriend would love to visit and I am excited at going back (around late August/early September time frame). We will see the major sites of course but I also enjoyed just walking around the city. Since it will be my second time I would like to either see some out of the way places in the city or possibly visit a few days along the coast which is not more than 4 - 6 hours travel. Another option is to take the train into Bulgaria. (I stopped in central Romania on my first trip before reaching Istanbul.) Our main interests are history, architecture, cultural (music/art/etc) and generally seeing lifestyles different from our own. Though of course we'd prefer nothing too rustic!

Anyone have ideas of interesting off-the-beaten-path things to see or do in the region?

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