Published: March 4th 2012March 4th 2012
The best place for Turkish coffee that we've found. And so atmospheric with views over the river. Went here 3 times in 2 days haha
Our final blog from Istanbul! What a city! Even in the snow and rain it is absolutely incredible! So much life.. So much to see and do! We crammed a lot in but only scratched the surface!
On Wednesday 29th
we went for coffee at the best coffee spot we’ve found. It’s called Yeni Marmara for those going to Istanbul soon (ahem Ray & Gail). Then we spent the afternoon in the Taksim area, which is over the river. I bought a new pair of shoes (that’s what the crazy photo of me pointing at my feet is for) as my hopeless packing left me shoeless! Turns out ballet flats are not the best choice when it’s snowing! We had dinner at a fish restaurant on the top floor of one of the hotels here with the most amazing views across to Sultanahmet… Could see the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and all the other mosques lit up at night. We had absolutely no idea what was going on there though – it was hilarious! It was pretty posh and we just had no idea how to order or what to do with the buffet. They were laughing at
My New Shoes
Ballet Flats + Snow = NEW SHOES REQUIRED
us and we were laughing our heads off so was heaps of fun!
The next day, Thursday 1st
March, was absolutely freezing and snowing… more than any other day! We braved the cold in all the layers we had to check out Suleymaine mosque and this old market place and then Sokullu Sehit Mehmet Pasa mosque. We arrived at the second one and took our shoes off in the snow (as you do) and then went to enter and it was closed! We were really lucky because the caretaker then came over to let us in. It was all dark as we entered and then he flicked on the lights and all the mosaics sparkled beautifully! It was incredible! Unfortunately we were not allowed to take pictures there so I can’t post any… You’ll just have to go there and see for yourself. Both are the work of Sinan and this second one is much smaller but well worth the visit. It was so cold there were vendors out in all the streets selling Sahelp – this hot milky, spicy, sweet drink.. It tastes like boiled sweetened consensed milk. I’m sure there’s more to it than that
That night we visted a Haman - Turkish Bath. What an experience that was! You have to change into these funny tartan ‘bikinis’ and ‘robe’ and wear slippers that are like blocks of wood, then you shuffle into the sauna room. It’s a big shared space and you lay on the large marble block in the middle then we had a scrub and massage in one of the side rooms. Here you lay on a hot marble table while they work their magic and every now and then they tip cold water all over you to check you’re still awake! This was awesome. The one we went to was the Suleymaniye Haman – the Sultan used to go there!
Our last day in Istanbul was Friday 2nd
March. We went to Hagia Sophia Museum for the morning. Mum, you would be so proud that I read all the information boards with intent! It was very interesting!! The place was originally built in about 300AD as an Orthodox Church. It was destroyed TWICE – once by fire and once by riots, then rebuilt for the third time as it stands today. It was at
View From Fish Restaurant
You can see the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia
some point then taken over as an Islamic mosque, before being turned into a museum in about 1935. When it was a church the inside was covered in mosaics, then they were plastered over when it became a mosque. They have removed lots of the plaster so you can see parts of the mosaics upstairs. Some things were only discovered 15 years ago! (disclaimer – this info is all from memory so some of the dates and facts may be a little askew…). Anyway, this was a truly remarkable place to visit and a wonderful way to end our Istanbul adventure!
There are more photos below