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Sunday, April 16, 2006


Today, we drove by the last stop of the Orient Express (yup the train) before taking a cruise on the Bosphorus, past the Beautiful Dolmabahce Palace (once housed the Ottomans). The Palace briefly reminded me of our own Malacanang Palace (because it is situated by the water). The building on top of the Palace is Swissotel-- where we had briefly stayed on our visit to Istanbul exactly 10 years ago with my Daddy (yep, I've been here before!) :)

We docked by the Asian Side (where all these beautiful houses are-- home of the rich and famous. Also the area where Ruffa GB. stayed) before we ended up in Yenikoy (European side) to have our lunch here. I had a platter of Turkish appetizers (Mezze) which included Dolma (seasoned rice stuffed into vine leaves), Some kind of spicy tomato salsa (real yummy), Cheese, salty fish, yogurt with spinach, and mushed eggplant. My guide told us that the Turkish appetizers are similar to Greek food. That being the case, I can say I'll be dining at Mati more often (hehee). I love the food. Love it. Had seabass (caught from the Black Sea) for my main course. I have no idea how they cook this, but it is by far, the best fish I've ever had. Ever. Price of the seabass is TL18 (approx Php 800)

We drove back to Besiktas (where we also were staying), passing by Ortakoy with all the nice lil shops (and also where the famous Ciragan Palace is located-- it's Kempinski hotel now-- one of the best in Turkey, converted from a Palace) to go see Dolmabahce Palace. Here it is, the Palace gate. I remember this place all too well, but my siblings and husband have never been here, so Mom and I went along again. Can you imagine living in this place?? I could get lost in there. I wasn't allowed to take photos inside, but the highlights of the palace included the crystal staircase (the ballusters of the staircase were all crystal), as well as the 4- ton crystal chandelier that had 750 lightbulbs which was the centerpiece of the main ceremonial hall. It was HUGE.

The sultan even had his own gate by the water, should he choose to take a yacht (err.. boat?) for transport! :D

Post Palace, we were brought to Taksim. HOLY cow, I thought I have already seen swarms of people on a street (think Mongkok in Hong Kong). But THIS place is no comparison!! Winner!! What, there must be thousands upon thousands of people just walking! Along the street are all these little shops (I still liked the Grand Bazaar better). Nice cafes as well as restaurants lined the street. It was more of a food trip than a shopping trip--

Doner- Also known to us as Shawarma!!! (This is soooo good. I swear I will get even fatter if I stay in Istanbul any longer)

Different hot dishes (fast food type) These looks soooo good.

Mushrooms (different kinds)Spices (ooooh I should've bought but then there's always McCormick hehe)Turkish Apple Tea (hehe, check it out, there's Turkish Viagra!)Different kinds of Nuts! (Pistachio-- for baklavas!)Patisseries such as this one, which offers Turkish pastries like the Baklava (on the lower left)

More Turkish Delights! Chocolates (Different kinds, with different nuts!)And there was a market alley which sold Fish (that ugly flat fish is their "swordfish")Dolma Mussels-- the "original" mussel meat was already removed, and instead, there was the seasoned rice inside, topped by the mussel! (I bought this, and it was SO GOOD!!!! Squeeze lotsa lemon, and scoop away!)

More kofte kebabs with grilled peppers!! Ok I'm salivating.
We finally settled on a restaurant, where I had the urfa kebab (minced meat kebab). I wish I was not on a diet because I would've easily eaten two platesful of this.

We ordered three desserts. One was of course, baklava (flaky pastry filled with ground pistachio), the other was baked rice pudding, and the milk pudding with coconut (this was the one in a bowl with pistachio and coconut shavings). All are yummy, but my fave is the baked rice pudding.

Post dinner, we walked around a bit more at the little bazaars inside the buildings before heading home. There was a segundo mano shop that sold all these antique watches and jewelry too.

Today is now Sunday-- HAPPY EASTER!!! And this afternoon, we are already heading back to Dubai. This'll be my last post in Istanbul :)


Blogger Pia M said...

Wow! We can now post comments? That's great :) Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks for taking all these beautiful pics and putting a short story to them, making me feel as if I'm there too. Istanbul is really a beautiful sight and nevermind the shopping, it's that rich culture of theirs I really appreciate. Thanks again. Love, Pia Magalona :)

12:03 PM  

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