Istanbul?

craner

Beast of Burden
Is it? I actually have to fly to Izmir, as the thing is in Kusadasi, but I may fly back from Istanbul. There is certainly no way I am going to Turkey without visiting Istanbul. I have spent a day there, but I didn't see the Straits.
 

blacktulip

Pregnant with mandrakes
I'm also on the lookout for tips on where to stay.

I recommend renting a flat - it's what we'll be doing next time around (whenever that is).

Last time (our first visit), we got a hotel on the side where the Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace are - mistake - every day we'd be walking up the hill towards the more interesting places on the other side of the river.

Here are a couple of good resources with interesting places to visit/eat:

http://www.chubbyhubby.net/blog/?p=516

http://www.smh.com.au/travel/city-of-secrets-20100224-p2wr.html

I recommend the place that does profiteroles and lemonade (unlikely but awesome combination) on the main shopping street. And the street filled with musicians and instrument shops (which is basically the walk up that hill I mentioned, so I saw it a lot).

Also, drink lots of tea in a glass, and enjoy watching the many, many, professional tea waiters serving it up to just about anyone standing still in their respective place of work.
 
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blacktulip

Pregnant with mandrakes
Also buy a carpet in the Grand Bazaar and haggle like a motherfucker until you also have an armful of towels thrown in.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Right, well we're off in just over a week. What to do about money? Is it worth getting a big sum out before we go and changing it there, or just using ATMs once we get there? Pound's strong against the lira, apparently.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Cheers Hywel, I think I've got a pretty good idea of where to eat now. A friend of mine who went a couple of years ago sent me this, might be handy for you too:

Slap up meal, for a special occasion: there is an amazing fish place called Esmet Baba, I think the area it's in is called Kuzbuncu. Since you don't like arak/raki/ozu, drink the Efes.

When drunk: Get an islik burger. It's a burger which has been marinated in some kind of liquidy ketchup. You can find them all over Taksim Square, but only at night.

On the Island, Bayukada: Bizarrely enough, some Greek monks run a kebab restaurant at the very top of the place. Very spartan, but the food is better than anything in Haringey, I promise. Well, it's all the same, but the quality is better.

Haci Abdullah Kebabs: in the European side. Yes, I know the kebab thing is getting old, but ....

Also, if you walk from Taksim Square to Galata, you will find an unmissable little alleyway where all the little coffee shops play live music. It's kind of amateurish, but fun; mostly beer and drinks here and not food, but worth a stop.

For something Western: try the Istanbul Culinary Institute. It's Zagat rated, but not too pricey.

For Turkish breakfasts: Walk along Istiklal, which is the big boulevard off of Taksim, and find these little shops with white tiled floors and walls. They're unmissable. The food is basically cheese, spinach and potato pastries. Again, the same type of thing as you get in Haringey, but here they use more grease.

For goat's milk ice cream (I promise you it's good): Mado, which is on Istiklal Cadessi.

Cayih: It's an area called Kadikoy. It's 3 restaurants in one, and is a good place to escape the tyranny of the kebab.

Tripe Sandwiches: there is a whole arcade of them just parallel to Istiklal, around the corner from Taksim. I was deceived by a friend into biting into one, but it was well worth it. Kokerec it's called in Turkish.

Sardine sandwiches: there is something called balik ekmek ("fish-bread"). These are found at piers when you wait for a ferry, say to the Bayukada Island. They cost nothing and they're tasty. The nicest one I found was near Emminonu, another district.


So the thing about Istanbul: they like they're food; it's really well priced, really, really well priced; and it's very clean, so you're not likely to get food poisoning. You could ignore everything above, take a random walk with a few Euros in your pocket, and you would have had some amazing meals. I've only ever had one bad meal, and that was a place near the Sultan Ahmet Mosque which was clearly meant for tourists, so both Martin and I should have known better.
 

baboon2004

Darned cockwombles.
Bloody hell, awesome. Thanks! I ate terribly (well, incredibly mediocre-ly) the last time I went, so am keen to avoid following the Time Out guide ever again...
 

baboon2004

Darned cockwombles.
Oh, and Ollie - go to the Fatih mosque at dusk when there's a service (I was there on a Sunday) - it's one of the most beautiful places I've ever been in the right atmosphere, like something out of a fairytale.

Fatih is one of the areas away from the centre, used to be the Armenian/Jewish area of the city if I'm right. Way away from the mass of tourists, set atop a hill, a really lovely little neighbourhood. Walk west from the central tourist area (Sultanahmet?) past the aqueduct....
 
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Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Haha, no way! My flight's on Saturday. Hywel, when are you going?

We should totes meet up and talk about nerdy Dissensus stuff all evening. My girlfriend would love that, I'm sure.
 

craner

Beast of Burden
Well, I'm flying to Izmir first, due to a wedding in Kusadasi, and will probably travel up to Istanbul afterwards. I'm in Turkey for a week.
 

baboon2004

Darned cockwombles.
Haha, no way! My flight's on Saturday. Hywel, when are you going?

We should totes meet up and talk about nerdy Dissensus stuff all evening. My girlfriend would love that, I'm sure.

ah, the Friday after you. how long you there for?
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
ah, the Friday after you. how long you there for?

Sorry, being a tard (ooh, eat your heart out, Frankie Boyle) - I had it in my head the 10th was a Saturday. We're there from Mon 10th-Thu 20th. So we'll overlap a bit, yes? Who're you going with?
 
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baboon2004

Darned cockwombles.
i'm there from the friday 14th to the monday. It's my Dad's 70th, so going with my parents and with my girlfriend. No idea how it'll pan out...my Dad will no doubt go mental over relics of Constantinople for three days straight, so I think I might duck out of some of that...
 
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benjybars

village elder.
i went for a second time last october.. definitely all about Beyoglu and the areas around there..anywhere near sultanhamet is massive tourist death-trap so once you've seen the blue mosque, hagia sofia etc, get the fuck out of there! oh, and the underwater cistern is pretty good too..
 

baboon2004

Darned cockwombles.
staying in sultanahmet for pragmatic reasons, but yeah, will be on the other side of the bridge quite often I'd reckon. Want to explore Kadikoy a bit more too, maybe even see a Fenerbahce football match if I can work out how to book in advance
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Righty ho chums, my number in case either of you fancy meeting up is 0031 6111 02463. I won't have it on all the time but will be sporadically checking so a text should reach me. A facebook message would be fine too. See you there (possibly).
 

benjybars

village elder.
staying in sultanahmet for pragmatic reasons, but yeah, will be on the other side of the bridge quite often I'd reckon. Want to explore Kadikoy a bit more too, maybe even see a Fenerbahce football match if I can work out how to book in advance

yeah kadikoy is pretty interesting

as i said earlier in thread, just turn up at fenerbache.. you'll get a ticket..
 
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