Istanbul Suggestions-attn: Opaldog

Old Feb 7th, 2009, 08:53 AM
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Istanbul Suggestions-attn: Opaldog

Opaldog- I wanted to write down a few things about Istanbul before you go.
I started on my trip report but I only managed to finish our first week before I got chosen to be on a federal jury. Iím not sure how long I will have to ďserveĒ so I have put together a list of things we really enjoyed in Istanbul

Walk across the Galata Bridge at least once and check out the fisherman and passersby. We enjoyed it so much, that we walked across the bridge most of the time rather than taking the tram, even in the rain and snow!

Walk uphill to the Galata tower, explore the streets around the area, it feels like the Village in NYC. There is a wonderful tiny coffe shop,called Otantik Cafe,which serves a delicious cappuccino- it's right around the corner from the tower. Lal next door has some nice handmade items too.
If you are there at lunch time Enginar across from the tower is good too.

If you like jazz, there is a great jazz club called Nardis right behind the tower on Kuledibi Sok.
They have shows every night, you can check their website for shows/times www.nardisjazz.com

Inci Pastenesi - on Istiklal Caddesi is known for their profiteroles, they are divine!
There is a man continuously serving plates and setting them on the counter. So just grab a plate as you walk in and pay on your way out.

Pandelli Restaurant 2nd floor of Spice Bazaar.

Hamdi Restaurant,for excellent Kebabs etc. Do try and reserve a table by the window for a fantastic view. I am sure your hotel can make them for you.

Robinson Crusoe, great bookstore at 389 Istiklal Cad.

If you like seafood you must try the fried mussels at the fish market next to Flower Passage off Istiklal. Mercan Kafeteya Balik Pasari SK 13-18-20 had the best! Yes, we went back 3 times for mussels : )

On a rainy day visit the Istanbul Modern Art Museum, you can see it in an hour or two, have lunch at the café and although we didnít, I heard itís good.
Easy tram ride from Sultanahmet.

Spend time at the Spice Market; itís less touristy than the Grand Bazaar.
Walk through the small local market to the left where they sell leeches, plants, birds etc.
Also try the Pastirma (pastrami) if you like meat, my kids do and they loved it! There are a few shops right outside the SB that sells it.

Rustem Pasa Mosque- much smaller than the Blue mosque, itís quieter and the Iznik tiles are lovely, itís a short walk from the spice market.

For menís hand made shoes go to Mahmut. The shop is almost at the end of Istiklal just before you reach Taksim Sq. They donít take credit cards, only cash.

If you are at Topkapi Palace in the late afternoon try and catch the sunset from the top of the terrace, and enjoy the spectacular view.

Nevizade Caddesi- any of the taverns are fun and lively at night.

Underground Cistern
Chora Church
Whirling Dervish performance at the Galata Mevlevihanesi - Galip Dede Caddesi 15 Tunel
This too, is in the Galata district on the same street where all the music shops are.

Since you will be there 6 days you should try and at least take the 1.5 hour Bosphorus cruise on a Turyol ferry to get a better perspective of the city.
The port is in the Eminonu district on the west side of the Galata Bridge, the Turyol ticket booth is hard to miss. The cruise is really inexpensive, I think we paid 7YTL

Finally, I would suggest you check out Rick Steveís Istanbul guide book. It gives you detailed information on sites, suggested guided walks and practical advice on opening times, transport etc.
I took it with me and found it really helpful in planning our daily activities

I am sure you will discover many great places on your own. Istanbul is an incredible city, with some of the friendliest and most gracious people I have ever met.

Bon voyage!





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Old Feb 7th, 2009, 11:30 AM
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kikiv: Thanks so much for responding to me personally. I appreciate all of your tips. I will make sure to take them with me. I have already planned to see the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, walk across the Galata Bridge and visit the tower. I'm glad to have the recommendations of places to eat and buy stuff. I will also look into the jazz place. Thanks and good luck on the federal jury. I will write about our experiences when we return.
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Old Feb 7th, 2009, 11:38 AM
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Opaldog, we also enjoyed very much visiting Dolmabache and Belerbey palaces,
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Old Feb 7th, 2009, 04:34 PM
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Thank you, valtor. Just curious where you stayed kikiv and valtor.
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Old Feb 7th, 2009, 08:07 PM
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opal


I always suggest a visit to the Pierre Loti Cafe, on a hill overlooking The Golden Horn. It's a taxi ride from Sultanahmet or from the Galata Bridge. Be there before 5:00...have a coffee or tea or(?) outside, weather permitting...at about 5:00 the call to prayer emanates from all around the city..usually slightly out of synch..very enjoyable, beautiful views, etc. They'll call you a taxi to get back...short ride, inexpensive..a real Istanbul experience. Don't neglect to try one of the great fish sandwiches from the little vendor boats at the foot of the Galata Bridge....de-ee-licious!

Enjoy exotic Istanbul!

If you're interested, these are some of my selected scanned, pre-digital photos of Turkey, including the Pierre Loti cafe and the ferry ride up the Bosphorus...just set to "slide show"...they can also be enlarged by the magnifying glass icon.

http://tiny.cc/EDoIY

stu t.
[email protected]

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Old Feb 8th, 2009, 04:42 AM
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tower: Loved your pictures. Turkey looks very exotic, not just Istanbul. We do short trips that generally are based in a large city. Our one trip that involved alot of driving resulted in backseat driving and bickering. We decided to take trips that involve public transportation since. Istanbul should be perfect for us. I have been reading books and suggestions from everyone on the internet. I like to go prepared, but leave us plenty of time to explore and have unplanned experiences. Planning is half the fun of traveling for me.

Pierre Loti Cafe has been mentioned by many others and I have it on my list. I'm not sure what the weather will be like, but I almost always travel in off season and expect all kinds of weather.

Keep the comments and suggestions coming. I really appreciate them. I keep note of all of them. Thanks.
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Old Feb 8th, 2009, 09:19 AM
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Opal, we stayed at Bereket Apts across the street from the Nardis Jazz club in the Galata District neighborhood. We loved being able to have an apt for the 4 of us to come home to everyday.
One of the bonuses was being able to see the tower and the Golden Horn from our living room window.
We also had an early morning wake up call courtesy of the mosque near by!


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Old Feb 8th, 2009, 02:38 PM
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I have seen those apartment on the internet. I do like to stay in apartments when I travel. This time we have decided to stay at the Empress Zoe. I have read many good things about it. I have looked into apartments but my husband has his heart set on the Empress Zoe. I'm sure we will enjoy our visit either way. I am assuming you went to the Nardis Jazz Club. If so, did you need reservations? I have read in different places that reservations were advisable.
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Old Feb 8th, 2009, 03:26 PM
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Opaldog, The Empress Zoe seems like a great choice, the penthouse suite you are staying in looks beautiful.

Yes, we did go to Nardis and enjoyed it very much. A reservation is a good idea as it's a pretty small club and it gets full. If possible request a table downstairs close to the stage. Have fun!





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Old Feb 8th, 2009, 04:58 PM
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Kikiv,
Thanks. I need this info also.
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Old Feb 9th, 2009, 01:59 AM
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I will definitely make a reservation for Nardis Jazz. I have bookmarked their website calendar. Did you eat when you went to the club? I see on their website that they do have a menu.
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Old Feb 9th, 2009, 02:48 AM
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Old Feb 9th, 2009, 09:21 AM
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opaldog - when are you going to Istanbul?
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Old Feb 9th, 2009, 09:51 AM
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Opaldog:

We loved the Empress Zoe. We had two suites in Chez Zoe and they were wonderful. Great location, too. Enjoy!
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Old Feb 9th, 2009, 06:44 PM
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Old Feb 10th, 2009, 04:00 AM
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We are traveling to Istanbul March 5-11. Glad to hear that everyone loves the Empress Zoe. I'm sure we will also.
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