Chora Church is quite challenging to get to from Sultanahmet area. We don't want to take taxi, so we go via tram + bus instead. Take a tram (or walk up to Eminonu) the take bus that goes to Edirnikapi. Sounds easy but we got lost at Eminonu. We finally found the bus station (not only a small stop) after asking police It cost 1.25 lira from Eminonu to Edirnekapi..
On the way to Edirnekapi, we saw a lot of bridals with many wedding dresses on display (including muslim wedding dresses - so its white but has long sleeves and headscarves).
Everytime the bus stopped, we would poke our head to see where we are (the stop name is small and often the bus doesn't stopped exactly in front of it). When we finally reached Edirnekapi, an older Turkish guy trying to let us know although he cannot speak English, he just said "Kariye, Kariye", which is the name of Chora Church in Turkish. How helpful was he!
From the stop there are small arrows pointing to Chora Museum (15 lira), and when we were unsure, just follow the tourist bus and taxis! Many people said that this
particular museum is very small, so I have my expectations set. Indeed it was small. But the frescoes image quality
really blew me away!!! Much much better vs Aya Sofia.
The mosaics covered the walls and the ceilings. And it was just really breathtaking and absolutely worth the effort to get there. One watch out is do not use flash to help preserve the paintings. And please! Do not write or vandalise the mosaics! It breaks my heart seeing some old writings of people carving their name on the walls. I mean, no one cares if you've been there! Or whether James loves Susie!
We spent a good 1.5 hours there before I changed my sneakers to heels - as we were about to dine at Asitane restaurant next door. We made an online reservation before, but I don't think its really necessary. Many empty seats there anyway.
Main course price was around 35-45 lira. A bit steep but then again those cafes in Sultanahmet area is already 25-32 lira range anyway. I opted for the Lamb Shank in Bed of Spinach and my husband opted for a veal dish. Both are just absolute delish!!!! Best meal I've had
in Turkey. The only thing I regret is living so far away so I can't literally just drop by every couple of weeks or so.
We left Asitane with very full stomache. We dropped by to a small local grocery store near by and the prices are like 30-50 percent vs Sultanmet area. There is also an old wall ruins in walking distance but we opted to go back anyway.
We catched a bus back to Eminonu and saw the rocking boats that sold fish sandwiches. I don't like fish so I gave it a pass. Hubby still feeling full so we just stand at the pier enjoying the scenes. Wow those seagull are giants! And so many people trying to catch a fish from the bridge. I wander whether they really managed to catch anything or not.
We decided to end the day early as the next day we are talking the first flight to Izmir. At night we just went out to Kasap Osman kebap which is just mind blowing and cheap!!!! A real "must try".
OK, pack, shower, sleep.... Excellent vaca so far!
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