Istanbul, April 20, 2006

Katie's groggy from sleep; & I'm still needing more. Free breakfast buffet on the rooftop is included in our pkg. The Mgr. picked up a mass transit pass for us on his way to work. We got on the tram; & rode down to the ferry point with the morning commuters. It's grey & quite cool (mid 50's on the water). We got a seat outside on the aft deck as we cruised up the Bosphorus Sea towards the Black sea, crisscrossing from the European side over to the Asian side of Turkey.

After 1½ hrs we arrived at the small seaside town of Anadolu Kavagi (the northernmost point of the cruise). It's a cute fishing village w/ dogs & cats roaming the streets, fisherman mending their nets, etc. At every fish restaurant someone is outside pushing a fish or their menu in your face. We finally chose one because they had soup on the menu (we were COLD, you know). Katie had a fairly good fish soup; & I had an unbelievably pitiful excuse for vegetable soup. If there were any vegetables in there, they were pulverized beyond recognition; & it tasted mostly of cucumber. She ordered a shrimp salad; & I had chef salad. When they arrived, they were identical (although the waiter swore they were not). They had lemon juice on it; & it was pretty bad. They automatically brought out a huge bottle of water & a basket of bread (which we found out later they charged extra for). The cost of this disastrous meal-44YTL (approx. $30 US). Katie went ballistic.

The skies began to lighten up on our ride back down the Bosphorus. Since we were right across the street from the Spice Market, we decided to look in before they closed. Mounds of colorful spices, candies (that famous Turkish Delight), pastries, fish, flowers, veggies, roosters, rodents & other Turkish pets (Katie's words, not mine). Back to the Nena on the tram (this time w/ the evening commuters). We stopped in Guilhane Park next to Hagia Sophia to take pictures of the tulip gardens. Had a lovely chat w/ 3 teenagers from Norway who took pictures of us & then us of them.

We had dinner at a highly recommended neighborhood restaurant called Sultanahmet Koftecisi. It's an 85 yr old, inexpensive local dive known for their kebobs & meatballs (which, BTW, are long & flat). We had salad & a great lentil soup to start. The meats were fabulous! A basket of bread (free) & honey pastries for dessert. Cost of this delightful meal-25 YTL.

We've made a few "friends" on our street. There's 2 darling (20?) guys that have a rug shop across the street from the hotel (Cuma, pronounced Juma, & Erkan). They (& several other guys that have shops on this street) always come to their doorway to speak as we walk by. But these 2 rug guys are exceptionally nice, talkative (improving their English). Katie won't stay & chat (she swears they're only trying to get us to buy a rug). They know I'm not interested (made that perfectly clear in the beginning); but I enjoy chatting w/ them. They always ask me to share tea w/ them. Although I've not done so, I have gone in & looked at family photo albums & such. Katie says they're trying to wear me down. It's all part of the experience. We're hoping to get some good sleep tonight & take the ferry over to one of the Prince's Islands tomorrow.

No comments: