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Friday, July 17, 2015

Asia Through the Back Gate and The House of Waris

With such a limited time in Istanbul we knew 
our days would be busy.  We started the day 
with a beautiful Turkish breakfast.  Mr. Wonderful
and I had stayed at this hotel the first time we were
in Istanbul.  We told Midi about it and he stayed 
here the next time he was in town.  It is a small hotel, 
the rooms are small but nice but the reason we stay
here is for the breakfast, it is fantastic.  It is such a 
spread that our first time we stayed here we had to
make two trips to the buffet just to be able to taste 

This is the honey dispenser,  I'd love to
have this at home.

But enough with the food, we had sites to see.
The first stop was the Hagia Sophia,  I told my
kids that the first time I entered the vast room
I gasped and I hoped it would have the same 
effect on them.  Sadly, there was construction
scaffolding on one side so that took away from
the soaring impact of the space.

We could still enjoy the beauty of the architecture.

And enjoy the beautiful mosaics.

After leaving the Hagia Sophia we strolled
over to the Spice Market and stocked up on
some of our favorites.

And who could pass up the Turkish Delight?

Afterwards, it was time for lunch and we decided
to go to Asia.  Asia you may ask?  Yes, Istanbul is 
the only city located on two continents and it is 
only a short ferry ride away.  

We arrived in Kadikoy on the Asian side of the
Bosphorus and I was looking for a particular
restaurant.  We hiked up and down winding lanes
trying to find it.  Locals were happy to help us, one
young woman google mapped it and even called 
the restaurant to confirm the directions.  

When we finally arrived I told the man at the
door that I had read that some said it was the
best restaurant in Istanbul ~ he countered with,
oh no, the world.  We weren't disappointed.
There were no tables outside though and since
it was such a nice day we wanted to eat outside, he
said no problem, we have a few restaurants on 
this street and all the food is the same.  He took 
us over to one of the other restaurants and gave
us a description of each of the dishes.  The food
was fabulous.

We walked off lunch with a stroll back through 
the winding streets to the port to catch a ferry
to Karakoy on the other side of the Golden Horn.
From there we took the funicular or mountain
tram as they call it and walked up the hill until we
reached the Pera Palace Hotel.

The Pera Palace is a grand old hotel and it
was especially interesting to us since we are
Agatha Christie fans and this is where she 
wrote Murder on the Orient Express.

The grand tea salon was being used for a private
party so we headed out to the terrace.  Kate and I 
headed inside to find the wash room and came into 
the tea salon as the turbaned and bearded Waris
Ahluwalia of the House of Waris was giving a 
speech about creativity and our need to take time 
for tea.  Waris is a some time actor, designer and
now I suppose tea peddler.  This event was part of
Istancool, an international arts and culture festival.
The crowd had gathered in the middle of the room
and Kate and I were stuck in the crowd so we stayed 
for the speech.

Back on the terrace we enjoyed some lovely
beverages and desserts.  Following this we
headed back to the hotel for a rest.

Later in the evening we went back to 
Sultanahmet for dinner.  On our way 
to find a restaurant we came upon a
Whirling Dervish performance.

Brennan chose the restaurant this evening, he
wanted one of the places where you sit on the
floor on pillows.

Thankfully, the food was good too.

Then we stumbled back to the hotel and
fell into our beds.  A grand day in a grand city.

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