Saturday, June 30, 2012
I really don't think I've seen anyone in full on burkas before Istanbul. They are so mysterious that I find myself staring at them trying to take a peek at their faces when they lift them up briefly to eat or readjust. Got caught too, haha. But mostly I was wondering to myself how they could walk around in 90 degree sun with full on black coverups. I was already dying in my little dresses or tanks! Speaking of clothes, I was a bit worried about dressing appropriately for mosques and such. But turns out, most places have wraps or head scarves set aside for visitors so you can put them on before entering and it wasn't an issue at all.
We stayed at a party area called Taksim that is literally 24/7 nonstop. Our hotel was pretty much on top of clubs and bars. We would wake up at 7ish in the morning, look out the window and people were still partying! It is pretty crazy and I am already way too old for that. Coming from California where all the bars and clubs have to shut by 2 am by law, it is a very different schedule for us.
All the major sites of the city are very close by each other which is great for tourists. You can walk from the famous blue mosque to the grand bizarre in less than 10 minutes. By the way, I didn't find the grand bizarre to be too special, since every shop was selling the same thing and I always feel like I'm getting ripped off even if I bargain it down from their original price! It's kind of a stressful experience when everybody is trying to talk to you and get you to go to their shop. Same as restaurants in Istanbul. Some people are so persistent that they won't let you go! I had one guy who held my hand and tried to force feed me desserts! My hubby is not much help in those situations. He just watches from afar and laughs at me. Humph... But I think it would be lots of fun to go to Istanbul with girls only, as you can probably get lots of attention! Everybody calls you beautiful angels and tells you they love you... Hahaha. And of course there are some very good looking Turkish men too.
Food in Turkey is good, I had lots of kebabs and casseroles cooked in clay or stone pots. I noticed that people eat very carb heavy there and a lot of people are overweight. I tried hard to eat more protein but it's difficult when they give you all kinds of yummy bread and rice with your meal! Amazingly though, I am not doing too bad. Bottled water is so so cheap in Turkey that I've been hydrating myself pretty well too.
Ok I feel like I've written way too much. So I am going to stop now. Here are some pictures though! I am now in Athens so I am sure I will have more to write about later. :)
Famous blue mosque:
Smoking hooka on bean bags!