April 8, 2013

Istanbul - Day 4

Day 4 did not go according to plan. I had plan for us to go to Dolmabahce Palace, then head to the Ortakoy region, next take the ferry to The Prince Islands, and lastly head to Taksim square for dinner. Weather dot com lied to me and the sunny fifty degree weather turned into a cold rainy day. Therefore we had to improvise and change our plans since mother nature was not cooperating with us.

We started the day at Dolmabahce Palace. Tickets for the Palace are 30 TL, the Harem is 20 TL, and joint tickets are 40 TL. The Palace is located right on the Bosphorus. Words can't describe how amazing this palace is. The palace is designed very symmetrical. There is two of everything!! There is no photography allowed inside the palace. A guided walking tour is given in the palace - no one gets to wonder off alone.

After the palace we took a cab to the Ortakoy region. There is a ton of cute local shops that sell jewelry and art work. There are a ton of coffee shops along the water - however the weather was cold and rainy therefore we found shelter inside good old Starbucks. We were able to buy some awesome art work from the local shops and the prices were extremely reasonable! 

After shopping in the Ortakoy region we headed to Taksim. We hung around Taksim for a while and walked our way toward İstiklal Avenue. The rest of the day turned into a shopping marathon.

After hitting the jackpot at Mango we decided to get some lunch. Doc found a great seafood restaurant on the Internet and we decided to check it out. Savoy Balik is a local place and not very touristy but the food is fantastic. They primarily have seafood therefore don't go there expecting a burger. The seafood was fantastic!

After lunch we head back to İstiklal Avenue. We did some more shopping and it was a great way to stay warm!! A midst all the shopping we discovered waffles. These are not your ordinary waffles. These are gourmet waffles. You get to choose 2 flavors of spread - they have chocolate, strawberry, vanilla, white chocolate, etc - then they put fresh strawberries, kiwi, banana, and then you can top it off with anything from sprinkles, pistachio, walnut, almonds, or shaved coconuts. They are delicious! I could eat one everyday! 

After shopping all of İstiklal Avenue the soul sisters called it a night. They had to head back to the hotel and pack their things since they had an early flight. Doc, Counselor, and I decided to go out and about the streets of Istanbul. As we walked by the Blue Mosque we were mesmerized by the water fountain and the lights. It was so pretty to see the fountain show with the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia in the background. Since we are picture fanatics we had to stop by and have a mini photo shoot.

We went to Cafe Mesale which is only steps away from the Blue Mosque. It is an outdoor hookah cafe which has live music as well as a Whirling Dervish show. It was an incredible vibe and definitely worth checking out!

Even though we had to improvise and change our plans we had a fantastic day!

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