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Istanbul, Turkey, Day 3

Ferry Tour on the Bosphorus Strait

Ferry Tour on the Bosphorus Strait

This morning we woke up to what sounded like a parade marching through Beyoglu. I headed out to pick up breakfast and discovered a school nearby. In the main plaza hundreds of students were gathered around in a circle listening to music and cheering. I also noticed that red and white Turkish flags were suspended from the windows and doorways of many buildings. Later we determined that it was an Ataturk-related holiday for children. For breakfast I ordered a cheese gozleme (pancake) from O Hala, which we ate back at the apartment.

We elected to use the stroller today. We walked down Istiklal Caddesi taking in the morning activity and storefronts. We stopped for a coffee break at a small cafe. At Galata Tower we snapped a few photos. The last section of the street was rather steep. Crossing under the busy intersection via an underground mall we arrived at the Galata Bridge. While waiting for the Bosphorus Tour ferry to depart we ate fish sandwiches for lunch, freshly caught at the nearby fish market. Once on the boat it became apparent that we had accidentally boarded the ferry which traverses between the European and Asian sides of the strait. On the Asian side we appealed to a ferry employee who happily showed us to the correct tour ferry. The tour ferry was very crowded with Turkish tourists; we appeared to be the only foreign tourists. The tour sailed idyllically up to the Fatih Bridge where we turned around. After docking at the Asian wharf we quickly hopped on the ferry back to Eminonu on the European side.

From there we headed up into the Bazaar District of Sultanahmet. This area was very crowded and we had to fold up the stroller while carrying Ezra. In the Spice Bazaar Beth Ann got lured into a spice store where she simultaneously became intoxicated by the offerings and temporarily forgot the exchange rate. We left $41 poorer but with plenty of chicken spice and peppercorns. Continuing uphill we strolled past clothing stores (“jeans, jeans!”), jewelry stores, toy stores, and various other wares. At an orange juice stand I struck up a conversation with the two jovial employees.

Bazaar District

Bazaar District

We checked out the Grand Bazaar itself, which is enclosed mini-city of stores and narrow passages.  Neither of us were very much in the shopping mood so we exited through a book store area and into the Beyazit Square in front of Istanbul University.  From there we meandered our way to the Suleymaniye Mosque.  Ezra was starting to get cranky so Beth Ann walked with him while I checked out the mosque interior, which was just as beautiful as the Blue Mosque.  The courtyard, gardens, and grounds were also very pretty.  From the mosque we descended down to the Golden Horn and across the Galata Bridge where we caught a taxi back to Taksim Square.

At this point, however, we became ambitious and decided to walk back down Istiklal Caddesi to trendy Sishane where we found the Sofyali 9 restaurant.  Here we enjoyed a tasty dinner of mezes on the second floor surrounded by other knowledgeable tourists from various countries (Spain, UK, etc.).  We had cheese, yogurt, eggplant, farmer’s salad, and fried calamari.  Yum.

Lodging: Istanbul Apartments

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