Published: June 22nd 2012June 22nd 2012
First complete day in Istanbul. We didn't get very good sleep at night because the room was quite noisy and it was either too cold or hot depending on if the air conditioner was on or off. Anyway, we started the day quite early with visiting Hagia Sofia. Building was basically impressive but somehow we felt like yesterday's visit to the Blue Mosque was much nicer and didn't get that much out of Hagia Sofia after that - one reason was that we rented (quite expensive) audio guides but it was no good: many of the explanations seemed to assume u know already a lot about Turkish ancient history, and we ended up standing in front of quite a few tomb stones or spots on the floor listening to the audio guide but not really understanding the point. At least i also thought the Blue Mosque was more beautiful on the inside.
After Hagia Sofia we got city maps at the tourist office and started walking towards the seaside and Taksim area (main shopping district). View at the seaside was beautiful as the water had cool turquis color and also weather was great: hot and sunny but not too hot
(thanks to the wind). On our way to the main shopping street we still got somewhat lost..that happens easily in this city since most of the streets are narrow, not exactly straight, and we still quite haven't cracked the logic of naming and numbering of street addresses.
We spend quite some time on the main shopping street, but even though Istanbul seems like a great shopping city, I found myself not so eager to go look at shops and try on clothes. We did buy one book by Orhan Pamuk (one of the main Turkish authors).
Later we had dinner on a restraurant street which is supposed to have a great dining atmosphere in the evenings. Food was good but restaurants were still quite empty and when we left we saw violin players were only warming up. Seems we need to go back another evening at a later time. On our way home we still stopped by at a café which I found on Tripadvisor - that was a nice experience. We had some chocolate dessert (Johanna) and baklava (Leo) with Turkish coffee. They had nice "oriental looking" interior and we had a nice table next to a
huge open window. After that we walked back to the hotel with a little detour to take a few pictures at the dark Bosphorus seaside.
There are more photos below