Istanbul is Best with Friends

Sean and McKinze (of “Sean and McKinze” fame… we’ve mentioned them about eighty times so far in our Georgia posts) had finished up their Peace Corps service and were on their way to make their new home in Portland, Oregon… via Turkey, New York City and Iowa. We planned to meet up with them again in Istanbul for a few days.

We cruised the Bosphorus and shared a sugar wafer the size of a manhole cover from a snack seller.

Bosphorous photo

Eminönü

Us - Bosphorus

We laughed at funny English phrases on peoples’ clothing.

Shoes and Corsets

We ate impossibly cheap balık ekmek (literally, “fish bread”) on the Galata Bridge.

balik ekmek

We visited the carpets and manuscripts and carvings at the mysteriously un-airconditioned Museum of Islamic and Turkish Art.

Mosque door

We found a great view of the Blue Mosque, which came with expensive drinks.

Blue Mosque

Turkish coffee

We shared baklava.

baklava

We walked up and down the hills of Galata…

Galata

…and the side streets of Istiklal…

Istiklal

…and caught our breath in mosques…

Sulimaniye Mosque

…and ignored the touts at the Grand Bazaar…

Grand Bazaar

…and wandered all the places in between.

Side street

We also enjoyed an long and incredibly relaxing Turkish bath – ladies and gentlemen separately and photography not allowed. Just imagine steamy, centuries-old rooms, with only a few shafts of light filtering in through small circular openings in the ceiling; hot marble slabs; mounds of bubbles; and unlimited bowls of hot and cold water to pour over your head. It was one of those rare places where the official advertising photos matched real life– as long as you swapped out the supermodels in tiny towels for large, topless bath attendants.

Sean and McKinze are great travel partners. They’re flexible and laid back, but also goal oriented planners. Whatever they suggested, we said “yes,” and we were always glad we did.

-A