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Isabel's Istanbul Trip Report with Photos

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Sep 6th, 2009, 07:12 AM
  #41
 
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Thanks for your good wishes Isabel, I'll be relieved when I'm sitting on that plane to Istanbul.

One more comment on the vendors in Morocco. I think the difference in experiences may have been location. I had a friend who crossed from Spain to Tangier for a day trip and said the vendors "in Morocco" were terrible. But we were in several cities and in small towns near the desert. One day we went to a livestock fair where men had sheets on the ground displaying all sorts of items for sale, tent spikes, tools etc. I saw a small silver charm and asked the person I was with to ask the price. He spoke to the seller then he told me to "give him $5.00" I asked what the seller had said and my friend responded "he said pay what you think it's worth." We had other good experiences in shops while traveling from Fes to the desert.

People (tourists) react to cities in different ways, where one could be charmed, another is not. I heard terrible things about Marseille but went anyway and loved it. It has an energy that I hadn't seen in other cities and I liked the laid-back attitude toward tourists. I thought Aix was pretty, but boring and others love it. So, I plan to keep an open mind about Istanbul. Every city has pros and cons; I expect that.

Otherchelebi -- Your advice is certainly valued and it's never drivel. I hope that I can meet some Istanbullus, but I don't know if that will happen; I think it more likely in the country, but then we'll also be visiting the historic sites. Other than a shopping excursion to Nisantasi (to a jewelry shop, Nelia, if I can find it) I'll be spending my time while in Istanbul seeing as many of the sights as I can.
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Sep 6th, 2009, 08:12 AM
  #42
 
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Wonderful report and excellent photos! I'm going to your Sicily report now. In fact, some of the Instanbul interior church shots reminded me of those in Sicily.

We were in Greece and Ephesus in the 80's and found the people selling things to be tenacious but not "in your face". "Madam needs a fur coat, yes?" Is there an accepted thing to say to get them to go away immediately?
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Sep 7th, 2009, 08:52 AM
  #43
 
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I seemed to have missed this report when it came out. Thanks for your observations and pictures. I loved the cats and dogs, the fruit displays at the market, and other little details. The picture of the cistern at the basilica was a stunner! Thanks again.
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Dec 6th, 2009, 10:38 PM
  #44
 
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bookmarking, great report and comments
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Dec 7th, 2009, 01:05 PM
  #45
 
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Oh, I can't believe I missed this report. Thank you!

Isabel, if you're still "watching"--you talk about the area around the Galatea bridge. We're thinking about staying in that area when we go. Did you feel safe there, or is there any reason why you think it would be a bad idea to make that area our hub. I was thinking, in part, it would be a nice compromise between Sultanahmet and the areas more geared toward shopping/clubbing, etc.
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Dec 8th, 2009, 09:31 AM
  #46
 
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Dec 9th, 2009, 09:52 AM
  #47
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Hi Peg, Which side of the Galata bridge were you thinking of staying on? I didn't feel unsafe in any part of Istanbul. But the area just north of the bridge (on the "new") side, was really dirty and not very pleasant. That's the immediate area between the bridge and where you get the funicular up to Istiklal Caddesi, I would not want to stay there. But I think there were some nice hotels somewhere not to far from there.

But really, I still feel staying in Sultanahmet is the best plan. It's only a five minute tram ride from the bridge yet the area is much quieter. You are near the big sites - Aya Sofia and Blue Mosque, yet the side streets are quiet and full of small hotels. And when you leave your hotel and walk to the tram you get to pass those wonderful sites, and then in a few minutes you can be in the modern part of town.
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Dec 12th, 2009, 09:37 AM
  #48
 
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Thanks Isabel. We plan on being in Istanbul at least 5 days, which is why I thought it wouldn't hurt to be outside of Sultanahmet. I've also been looking at these apartments, near the Galatea Tower, for years:
http://www.istanbulholidayapartments...partments.html
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Dec 13th, 2009, 03:04 AM
  #49
 
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The people in your face trying to get you to buy something, to eat in their restaurant, etc. Especially the guys trying to start a conversation with you on the street (presumably to get you to go with them to their carpet shop). They are just downright rude. Although I certainly read about them in advance I was not prepared for how bad they were. Sure you can just ignore them, and I did, but it does detract from your ability to just stroll or stop and look around. If you slowed down some guy would start bugging you: “Hello! – Excuse me!– Lady! – Please! – Madame! – Senora! – Hey! – Hello!”. They walk right up next to you and are quite loud. In any other city if someone walks right up to you and tries to get your attention by saying “excuse me” most people will turn and see what they want. They count on this. I was prepared for it in the Grand Bazaar (where interestingly, it wasn’t bad at all) but not everywhere else. And while no one tried it with us, we did observe the “dropped shoe brush scam”.

What can I say,they are just the trouble...keep away from those guys... and do not buy anything from their uncle's rug store.
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Jun 3rd, 2010, 09:20 PM
  #50
 
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Bookmarking
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Sep 25th, 2015, 10:30 AM
  #51
 
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I know it's an old thread, but it has been invaluable in helping me plan my forthcoming trip. Thanks Isabel
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Sep 26th, 2015, 03:25 AM
  #52
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willit - thanks. I hope you enjoy your trip. Since you topped this thread I re-read my own trip report and it brought back some great memories.
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