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#1 Jaymes

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Posted 12 November 2009 - 09:29 PM

Not sure where to put this. Is Turkey in Europe? Eurasia, maybe? Do we have a spot for Eurasia?

At any rate, I'm going to be spending a week in Istanbul this coming May. I've never been there before and know nothing. Nada. Zero. Zip.

Anybody know anything? Like where a single gal might be able to find an affordable hotel room that's safe for a woman traveling alone?

And ditto for restaurants. Attractions. Sites to see.

And any other tip that anyone might be predisposed to share.


admin edit on the thread sub-title

Edited by Rail Paul, 08 June 2010 - 09:48 PM.

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#2 Sneakeater

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Posted 12 November 2009 - 09:39 PM

Part of Istanbul is in Asia, and part is in Europe.

I guess you have to look up the address of each place you're curious about, and then post it on the appropriate board.
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#3 Lex

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Posted 12 November 2009 - 09:42 PM

Of course, there's the existing Istanbul thread. Thirty five pages of fun and excitement.

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#4 Anthony Bonner

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Posted 12 November 2009 - 09:42 PM

Europe or Asia - Are you asking that question in Berlin or Paris - or Istanbul

Really great place to visit. Enjoyed it a alot. Beggars can be annoying. I'm not sure I'm much better than a guidebook tho for suggesting sights. Was only there 4 days.
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#5 Slapsie Maxie

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Posted 12 November 2009 - 10:39 PM

Although I would not recommend eating in the area ( it is mainly tourist joints) I do think it is fun to stay in the Sultan Ahmet part of town for its proximity to the main sights. As well as the usual places like The Blue Mosque etc, don't miss the extraordinary Roman cisterns, recently reopened after renovation.

for food, my two recommendations would be

1) take the ferry across to Kadikoy, where you will find some really exceptional places. There is one restaurant called Ciya which I recall being very good.

2) Just under the Galata Bridge (which spans from Europe to Asia) the re are lots of small restaurants selling Balik Ekmek, a sandwich made of freshly grilled mackerel, topped with sharp raw onions and doused with lemon juice. It was one of the great tastes of my trip.

There are some good places to eat were in the modern part of the city around the main square, Taksim, or a few blocks either side, if my memory is correct.

Lovely city, I am actually going back there for the first part of my honeymoon

Hope this helps

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#6 Jaymes

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Posted 12 November 2009 - 10:43 PM

QUOTE(Lex @ Nov 12 2009, 03:42 PM) View Post
Of course, there's the existing Istanbul thread. Thirty five pages of fun and excitement.


Yes. I tried that. Was looking for some practical advice.

But unfortunately I got bogged down with the dancing bears and cultural significance of street groping, known elsewhere as 'copping a feel,' (which if I get desperate and the men are attractive and are moving slowly enough, I might give a try).

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#7 Adam Lawrence

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Posted 12 November 2009 - 11:09 PM

It's a fantastic city, one of the most amazing places I have ever visited. The people are lovely, among the most friendly you will ever meet.

I agree with Slapsie that one should stay in Sultanahmet, then all the biggest attractions are within walking distance. You can cab it to Taksim (or take a tram) and get the ferries if you want to see the Asian side.

Be sure to have lunch at the Sultanahmet Koftecisi, it's a famous old place where they only have a few items on the menu, but they are really great. Right on the main tourist drag, but still a locals experience (though there'll be lots of tourists too obviously). There are several restaurants on the same street with basically identical names, so check you've got the original. See http://www.istanbult...hmet-koftecesi/

The Orient Express restaurant on the main Sirkeci railway station is a fun experience. Food maybe not top drawer, but a beautiful room. Lucy and I ate dinner there on the night of our tenth wedding anniversary, after watching sunset from Galata Bridge (not quite as romantic as it sounds, six lanes of traffic, two of trains will do that for you) but still cool.

We stayed at Sirkeci Konak (http://www.sirkecikonak.com/) at the recommendation both of Trip Advisor and a contact who does PR work for the Turkish tourist board, and it's lovely. Right below the walls of the Topkapi palace, easy walk anywhere in Sultanahmet, independently owned, wonderful welcome. They have a good restaurant too. It was around 200 euros I think, at the top end of what I'll spend, but definitely worth it.

The Grand Palace Mosaic Museum in the small bazaar below the Blue Mosque is a don't miss. They built the mosque on top of the old Byzantine palace, and archaeologists have dug up a bunch of amazing mosaics. They're in this crappy little museum tended by one guy and a couple of stray cats, and any one of them would be a star exhibit in a major European city.
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#8 Jaymes

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Posted 12 November 2009 - 11:13 PM

I'm thinking of staying here: Hotel Niles

How does this location look?


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#9 Rail Paul

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Posted 12 November 2009 - 11:14 PM

that's a great report, Adam. Thanks for sharing it.

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#10 Jaymes

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Posted 12 November 2009 - 11:40 PM

QUOTE(Rail Paul @ Nov 12 2009, 05:14 PM) View Post
that's a great report, Adam. Thanks for sharing it.


Yes it sure is, Adam. Exactly what I was hoping for. I really appreciate your taking the time to post it and I should have said so.

That hotel looks great. Unfortunately, though, that's about twice what I can pay. So I'm hoping that the Hotel Niles is in one of the locales you recommended.



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#11 Adam Lawrence

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Posted 13 November 2009 - 12:31 AM

QUOTE(Jaymes @ Nov 13 2009, 12:40 AM) View Post
QUOTE(Rail Paul @ Nov 12 2009, 05:14 PM) View Post
that's a great report, Adam. Thanks for sharing it.


Yes it sure is, Adam. Exactly what I was hoping for. I really appreciate your taking the time to post it and I should have said so.

That hotel looks great. Unfortunately, though, that's about twice what I can pay. So I'm hoping that the Hotel Niles is in one of the locales you recommended.


I checked the map and Niles is pretty much opposite the Grand Bazaar. One or two tram stops or a 10-15 minute walk from Topkapi, Ayasofya et al - a good location.

There's a famous restaurant inside the Grand Bazaar, whose name I can't remember, where we ate lunch one day. Was very good - I will try to hunt out the name.

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#12 Jaymes

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Posted 13 November 2009 - 08:32 PM

Kind of excited!

I'm going on this cruise: Athens - Istanbul "Cradle of History" and have decided to extend in Istanbul.

I'll be watching for the name of that restaurant in the Grand Bazaar. It will be on the list for sure.

And thanks again, Adam, for taking the time to help me out.

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#13 Adam Lawrence

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Posted 14 November 2009 - 06:02 AM

Jaymes - I looked up the restaurant in the Grand Bazaar and it's called Havuzlu. Navigation in the bazaar is not easy, it's just so damned big and busy, but I asked a policeman and he took us right there.

I had a look at your cruise agenda and noticed it calls in Antalya, which is a beautiful city. I only passed through on the way somewhere else, but if you get chance to visit, the Roman theatre at Aspendos, apparently the best preserved ancient theatre in the world, is awe-inspiring.
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#14 Wilfrid

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Posted 14 November 2009 - 06:29 AM

Freshly caught fish everywhere, and I thought the vegetables were a revelation too. Practical advice: never order your entire dinner at the outset. The mezzes and salads are great, but if you order fish or meat at the same time, it will come out immediately, the mezzes will be taken away, and your dinner will be over in twenty five minutes. Refuse to consider main courses until you are ready - local diners will sit over mezzes and raki all night.

#15 Jaymes

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 02:32 PM

QUOTE(Adam Lawrence @ Nov 14 2009, 12:02 AM) View Post
Jaymes - I looked up the restaurant in the Grand Bazaar and it's called Havuzlu. Navigation in the bazaar is not easy, it's just so damned big and busy, but I asked a policeman and he took us right there.

I had a look at your cruise agenda and noticed it calls in Antalya, which is a beautiful city. I only passed through on the way somewhere else, but if you get chance to visit, the Roman theatre at Aspendos, apparently the best preserved ancient theatre in the world, is awe-inspiring.


Thanks again, Adam, for the advice. Although I've been to Athens and Egypt, it's my first time in the Holy Land. Currently on the agenda is Massada and the Dead Sea, and Jerusalem. I'll be looking for any and all tips and advice.

And Wilfrid - great tips about lingering. I do hate being rushed.


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